Emergency Vehicle Accident Reconstruction

The drivers of police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances operate are typically provided advanced driver training, and are governed by emergency vehicle statutes. Mr. Painter has been certified as a police emergency vehicle instructor, has trained and supervised police cadets, and has provided court testimony regarding police pursuit and emergency vehicle operation. While on staff at The Traffic Institute, Mr. Painter authored “An Administrator’s Guide to Police Pursuit Policy”, available through the Northwestern University Transportation Library.

Law Enforcement is inherently dangerous work.  Police pursuits, vehicular and pedestrian traffic control at accident scenes, and even routine traffic stops must be conducted in a manner designed to (1) minimize risk of injury while (2) ensuring that an officer has adequate discretion to perform his assigned duties, apprehend law breakers, and deter criminal conduct.  Law enforcement agencies must establish effective training and standards that recognize these often-competing goals of public safety and criminal apprehension and deterrence.

Plaintiffs seeking to prove that police were negligent in the performance of their duty must generally establish that (1) they were injured as a result of police action, (2) police had a duty by law to conform to certain standards of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risks, (3) that these standards establish a duty to act or not to act on the part of the police, (4) that there exists a reasonably close causal connection between the injury sustained and the failure of police to perform to standard, and (5) that the consequences of police actions were foreseeable.

Standards of conduct may be contained in state law, department procedures, case law, and guidelines promulgated by professional organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).  Evaluation of relative risk of a police pursuit may be assisted by research contained in major police pursuit studies conducted by the California Highway Patrol and the University of Michigan, and others.

John H. Painter, MPA, ACTAR,  was first qualified as an expert in police pursuit/emergency driving in 1990 in the Superior Court of the state of New York, and has been retained by both defendant and plaintiff counsel in Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey and Connecticut. References and summary of expert testimony will be furnished upon request.