The Philadelphia Daily News reports that a 16-year-old boy was shot after a highway chase. The teen was "committing several driving violations" which brought him to the attention of the state troopers. He exited I-95 and pulled over, but it was apparently to attempt another crime. Once the state troopers approached the vehicle, the boy tried to run them over. One of the troopers shot at the driver; he was transported to a nearby hospital in stable conduction. The two other passengers were unharmed and they were brought into custody.
In a case like this where there will obviously be criminal charges, is there any way that a personal injury case could develop for assault?
Since it appears that the driver was willing to injure the state troopers and did not have respect for human life, it could be possible that the two passengers were being detained in the car against their will. If this is true, then the two other passengers could sue the driver for abduction, assault (forcibly keeping them in the car), and making them fearful for their lives. They could have been afraid that they would get into a car accident on the highway, or that they would spend time in jail when he attempted to back over the state troopers.
If they were willing accomplices, then they would not have a personal injury case and they could be up for criminal charges like conspiracy.
Another possibility would be if the teen accidentally put the car in reverse and put his foot on the gas. While this is an incredibly unlikely scenario, would it mean that his getting shot was unjustified? Well, regardless of the intent (whether it was an accident or not), the state troopers' lives were in danger from the out of control vehicle.
If the teen had hit any other cars while he was attempting his highway escape, they would be able to sue him with the help of a PA personal injury lawyer.
Unless new evidence comes to light that exonerates the teen or paints a different picture of what happened, it seems that only criminal charges will follow this case.
- Do you need the help of a PA personal injury lawyer? (FindLaw)