If an individual is injured in a Maryland car crash with a police officer or after an encounter with an officer, the individual’s ability to recover damages may be limited by qualified immunity. Qualified immunity, a doctrine that has been scrutinized in recent months, limits the ability of individuals to sue police officers after they have suffered injuries caused by police officers and other government officials.
42 U.S.C. § 1983 authorizes suits against state and local officials for violations of federal constitutional and statutory rights. The statute allows an individual to file a claim against a government official if the individual was deprived of a federal right and the government official acted under the color of state law. The statute is used by many Maryland plaintiffs to sue government officials in the state. Local governments may also be liable if the actions resulted from a local government policy, practice, or custom.
Qualified immunity protects government officials from lawsuits after the official violates an individual’s civil rights. The doctrine only allows lawsuits if an official is found to have violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right, of which a reasonable person would have known. This often means that a plaintiff must show that the officer violated a right that was recognized by a prior court. In considering whether a right was clearly established, courts consider the action that an objectively reasonable officer would take. Courts may also consider what the officer was aware of at the time. In practice, this often means that officers are protected from lawsuits by the courts. Qualified immunity is meant to protect the government and its officials from frivolous lawsuits. However, critics have been calling for an end to qualified immunity, arguing that it bars many injured victims from recovering financial compensation.
Maryland Police Chase that Left Two Dead Results in Officer Suspensions
According to a recent news report, five police officers were suspended in Prince George’s County, Maryland after a car crash left two people dead. The crash occurred on a recent weekday afternoon after police were called to a gas station by a gas station clerk. The clerk reportedly said that the driver and a passenger in an SUV were acting unusual. An officer came and spoke to the individuals, a 62-year-old woman and her 42-year-old son. The individuals then drove off and a police chase ensued. The SUV crashed into utility poles, killing both the driver and the passenger. The officers involved have been suspended while an investigation is conducted.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Crash?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Maryland car crash, do not wait to contact an experienced accident attorney about your claim. The Maryland personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have over 20 years of experience representing injured victims and their families in Baltimore and throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our legal team skillfully helps accident victims pursue maximum compensation for their injuries. Call Lebowitz & Mzhen today to set up a free initial consultation at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us through our online form.