CHICAGO (CBS) – A man says he was injured in an accident and his car was badly damaged.
He insists that it wasn't his fault. But as Tim McNicholas of CBS 2 reported on Friday morning, his lawyer won't even pursue this because the other driver was a policeman who would likely be protected from liability.
Aaron Travis' car was smashed and its airbags deployed on 113th Street and Michigan Avenue. He doesn't need pictures to remember the crash last August.
"A police car came out of nowhere and hit me and turned my car around – with no lights or nothing," said Travis.
According to a police report, a CPD officer followed another car, which was described as a "vehicle of interest (possibly involved in a shootout)".
The officer "hadn't activated his emergency equipment." He said he had slowed down his marked police cruiser and had been cautious when crossing the street from an alley, but claimed that he was hit by Travis' car at around 6 p.m. this evening.
The officer also said he hadn't seen Travis coming because parked cars and bushes blocked his view.
"He just showed up. When he showed up, boom! "Said Travis. "Hit my car, turn it over and let it drive towards the alley."
Travis' daughter took him to the hospital hours after the accident and was diagnosed with breast disease, leg injury, and lower back strain around 1 a.m.
He was already in a wheelchair because of previous medical problems, but Travis said injuries from the accident made it even harder to get around and he is still recovering.
"I'm really limited," said Travis.
His lawyer told him that the city was unlikely to pay for his car damage or medical bills.
"If you say something, you're immune to lawsuits," said Travis.
Irv Miller, legal analyst at CBS 2, said the lawyer had given "good advice".
Miller agrees that the case would likely not be upheld in court as police officers are protected by a legal doctrine called immunity from torture. That is, in order to be held responsible, an official would have to deliberately cause damage to property.
"Did this officer act sensibly? Maybe not. Was he negligent? Probably, ”said Miller. "But did he act willfully and willfully? I do not believe that. "
Miller said the purpose of the law is to protect taxpayers from repeatedly spending large sums of money. By April of this year, the CPD had paid out just over $ 40,000 in a total of seven property claims.
"If you or I drove out of this alley instead of a police car, would that guy get compensation, do you think?" McNicholas asked Miller.
"This guy would either be paid for by you or your insurance company," Miller said.
Travis added, "It hurts right now, you know?"
Miller said another reason for the law was that without the law, people could be prevented from becoming police officers because they could worry about possible judgments against them.
The police report did not include a list of who was to blame in this case.
Not everything is immune. The city paid out more than $ 55 million last year for various CPD claims.