Cities install sidewalks along their streets so that pedestrians can have a place to walk without being endangered by vehicle traffic. People who are on these sidewalks usually don’t expect to be hit by a car or truck. And they certainly never plan on being struck by a police car.
But that’s exactly what happened in Skokie October 19. Around 9:00am, a Skokie Police officer attempted to pull over a sport utility vehicle that was speeding through a school zone near Walker Elementary School. The officer tried to make a U-turn with his car on Church Street near Prairie Road, but lost control of his vehicle in wet road conditions. The squad car collided with several parked vehicles along the street and then struck a 33-year old pedestrian walking on the sidewalk. The Chicago resident was rushed to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston with several broken bones.
Of course, police officers are expected to watch out for pedestrians just like civilian drivers are – even if the officers are chasing a suspect. As a result, it appears that the 25-year police veteran will be found responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries.
If this is the case, the victim could file a personal injury lawsuit against both the officer and the Skokie Police Department. The pedestrian may be entitled to reimbursement of hospital expenses, medication costs, and physical therapy expenditures. The defendants may also be ordered to pay for wages that were not earned during the victim’s hospital stay, as well as damages for loss of care or mental anguish.
Auto accident lawsuits against police departments often take longer to complete than those involving only civilian drivers because of the bureaucracy that is endemic in city governments. Also, the statue of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits against municipalities is only one year from the date of the accident instead of the standard two years.