When Human Barricades in the Guise of Peaceful Protest Result in Injuries, Who is Liable?

When Human Barricades in the Guise of Peaceful Protest Result in Injuries, Who is Liable?

During certain times in America’s history, we have gone through periods of civil unrest resulting in civil disobedience. This civil unrest takes on the form of a disruption of the normal order of things, usually by riots or some other form of protests. Instead of riots, the most recent actions of protesters have been to take to the streets and major highways, and stopping traffic by forming human barricades.

In the past, such protests appeared to be spontaneous. The current protesters are well organized. They congregate on our roads, claiming that they are peacefully protesting but there are instigating violence by blocking traffic.

Human Barricades by Protesters and Traffic Jams; a Recipe for Disaster

Speaking of traffic jams and road rage, we have heard and have seen stories of these political protesters taking to the highways and creating human barricades in an effort to stop traffic, causing large traffic jams and bringing their cause to the forefront of society’s attention by these methods. Whether you believe that this is the right course of action for these protesters to take or not, the criminal element of their actions cannot, nor should they be ignored.

Frustrated Drivers Plow Through Human Blockades

While human blockades of motorist have become such a common theme for protesters recently, there is another aspect of their actions that cannot be ignored. Creating these blockades on major thoroughfares, during rush hours, is a recipe for disaster. Frustrated drivers are beginning to plow through these lines of individuals, running over some of the protesters, causing injury. One driver rammed through a line of protesters, injuring some of them. A 16-year old girl caught in the line of fire, so to speak, was run over by a motorist who had been detained by these illegal blockades and as a result, her leg was crushed. In some of these incidents, the driver’s are exonerated from any criminal charges and the authorities are holding the protesters at fault. For more information on this story see, Star Tribune.

In one such incident, one of the protestors was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace, felony property damage, and trespass.

Are the “Peaceful” Protesters Liable Civilly for Injuries and Damages?

When determining liability for a negligent or intentional tort, the test is whether there is a chain that runs from the defendant’s action and the plaintiff’s damages. If there is a break in the chain, in all probability, the defendant will not be found liable. The test is “causation.” If anyone is injured as a result of the actions of the human blockades in obstructing traffic, such that if cars attempt to escape through the blockades run over any of the protesters, who is liable for any consequential damages; is it the protesters, is it the motorists, or is it both? As of yet, there are no cases on the record to test any potential civil liability as a result of these human barricades.

We are a nation of laws. Enforcement of the law is not something that should be taken lightly because without laws, anarchy will ensue. Human blockades should not be encouraged. The risks of injuries to protesters, drivers, and police officers alike are a distinct possibility. If you are caught up in any such incidents of civil unrest, and are injured as a result, you will need someone on your side who is knowledgeable about your rights and any remedies you might be entitled to. You need an experienced personal injury law attorney. Please contact us today, by phone at 1-877-363-7942, or take advantage of our online case evaluation form to schedule your initial case review.

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