A collision involving a police vehicle may allow an injured party of their family to pursue a personal injury claim or even wrongful death lawsuit if a death occured. However, whether or not a police officer is liable depends on a few things.
When the car crash happened, the law enforcement officer who was involved was driving to an emergency, had their sirens on, or was driving carelessly.
Laws will vary by state, but below are the most common concerns you may have concerning police vehicle accidents:
What follows a car crash with a police vehicle if you are hurt?
Accidents where a law enforcement vehicle is involved are not the same as other types of collisions. When a civilian vehicle or pedestrian is struck by a police vehicle, you may believe that officers are immune from liability. That is not the case. If a driver, a passenger, or pedestrian is hurt in a collision with a patrol vehicle, the police department and the city they have jurisdiction may be held accountable.
Of course, anyone who has been involved in an automobile collision should make sure they are safe and out of harm’s way. Victims should make sure they get the medical assistance they need, especially if they are injured. Seeing a doctor is important, even if you are unsure whether your injuries are significant. Sometimes, those involved in any vehicle accident may not realize they have injuries until the next day or more.
Whenever you are in an accident, never acknowledge blame. When the other motorist is a policeman, this might be more challenging, particularly if the officer is attempting to intimidate you. It is not the officer’s decision who was to blame. Instead, it will be the court who will determine the at-fault party after a thorough examination of the facts.
Contacting a car accident lawyer may be the most critical move you can make following a collision with a police car. As these accidents are treated differently, the insurance coverage the city will have is not an ordinary motor insurance policy and it often covers the police officer. The claims procedure could vary and could take a lengthy time period. To know and really understand these variables, you want to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer and they generally offer accident lawyers free consultation. Having legal counsel at your side will maintain the pressure on the authorities to ensure that you are reimbursed for their injuries.
Who will be to claim in a crash with a police vehicle?
In a car collision, fault is usually assessed by which driver was driving carelessly and caused the crash. For example, if one motorist runs a red light and collides with another vehicle, the person who ran the red light will be held responsible. What if that person is the police?
This will be based on what the officer was doing when the accident occurred and how they were driving. If that officer is found to be negligent, you may be entitled to sue the city.
These accidents could stem from an officer running a red light or stop sign, entering a roadway when they do not have the right of way, or not signaling before switching lanes.
However, in some states including California, there is something called an “emergency vehicle exception”, which makes emergency vehicles like a patrol car exempt from some traffic regulations. If the vehicle is being driven during an emergency call and is not driving recklessly, they could be excused in certain instances.