What Happens if You Get in a Car Accident With a Police Officer?

What Happens if You Get in a Car Accident With a Police Officer?

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What Happens if You Get in a Car Accident With a Police Officer?

During an emergency or car chase, police officers might be speeding, running red lights, and engaging in other potentially dangerous driving behaviors. While hazardous maneuvers may or may not be justified at the time, they can result in catastrophic accidents that leave innocent drivers, car occupants, and bystanders with extensive injuries and financial losses.

Experiencing a serious car crash is always upsetting and stressful. However, getting involved in a car accident with a police officer can leave you with many questions, including who will pay for your damages. If a negligent cop hits your car, you could be entitled to compensation, such as wage loss, medical costs, pain and anguish, and more.

Morgan & Morgan is here to help. Our determined car accident lawyers could fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation to discover your legal options.

You Could Have a Legal Claim Against a Police Officer

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), around 300 persons die each year in police pursuit-related accidents. One-third of these individuals are innocent drivers and bystanders who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

In principle, police officers have to follow the same road laws as other drivers. However, responding to emergencies may justify driving over the posted speed limit, running red lights, and driving in other ways that violate road laws.  

That said, wearing a uniform does not mean police officers are above the law. Cops that drive dangerously or recklessly, whether responding to an emergency or not, may be liable for an accident.

If a police officer is violating a traffic law without responding to an emergency, causing your accident, you may be able to hold them responsible like any other at-fault driver. However, holding a police officer accountable for an accident can be tricky.

Getting Compensation Can Be Challenging

Even if a cop carelessly or recklessly caused your accident, getting justice and compensation can be difficult. In some states, law enforcement officers are immune from lawsuits. While this does not mean that you cannot file a lawsuit and seek damages, you will likely face additional hurdles when suing law enforcement.

Moreover, police vehicles and on-duty officers are not covered by ordinary car insurance policies but are insured by the government. Therefore, the claims process to receive an insurance settlement can be complex and lengthy.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Since getting into a car accident with a police officer can present you with additional hurdles to get what you deserve, consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a crash to clarify your options. Depending on your state, you may have to file a “notice of claim” within 60 or 90 days if you want to sue a police officer.

An experienced car accident attorney from Morgan & Morgan knows what to do and how to protect you. They can guide you through the complex legal process of filing a claim or lawsuit against the government.

Your Next Best Steps After a Collision With a Police Officer

If you get in a car accident with a police officer, you should respond as you normally would in other accidents. First, stay at the accident scene and call 911 for medical help if there are any injured individuals. Your next best steps can include:

  • Exchange contact details with the police officer if they remained at the scene
  • Gather contact information of other involved drivers and eyewitnesses
  • Take photos of the accident scene and car damage
  • Make notes about how the accident happened, the weather, and the time
  • Seek medical advice if you are hurt
  • Call your car insurer
  • Contact a car accident lawyer for advice

Collisions involving cops and patrol cars can be horrific as they may occur at high speeds. If a law enforcement officer carelessly or recklessly hit your car or the vehicle of a loved one, our attorneys could help you get justice and compensation.

Victims Could Be Entitled to Compensation From the Government

In most states, the at-fault party’s insurance is generally responsible for the damages of victims in a car crash. When a police officer causes an accident carelessly, a public entity is usually liable for the injured party’s damages. Depending on the facts of your case and the responsible law enforcement agency, you could receive compensation from the city, county, or state. While compensation victims can recover will depend on various factors, including the severity of injuries, you could receive:

  • Medical bills and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and future lost earning capacity
  • Car repair or replacement
  • Pain and suffering

However, in accident claims involving a government entity, having professional legal representation in your corner can be crucial for a fair settlement. Morgan & Morgan’s determined car accident lawyers can fight for the best possible outcome of your claim.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • When Can an Officer Violate Traffic Laws?

    In most states, police officers and other emergency responders may only be exempt from traffic laws in certain circumstances. Specifically, cops may be allowed to disobey road laws if they:

    • Pursue a criminal suspect
    • Respond to an emergency
    • Display sirens and lights

    However, cops must not violate road laws without reason. If a law enforcement officer drives recklessly and causes a crash without responding to an emergency or chasing a criminal, they could be liable for damages.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against a Police Officer?

    As previously mentioned, the time to initiate a legal claim against a government agency or employee can be prohibitively short. In some states, you must file a notice to the relevant government agency before you are allowed to file a lawsuit. Such notices typically include:

    • Your name and contact information
    • A description of the accident
    • Time and place of the crash
    • Details of damages and a request for compensation

    The responsible government agency should contact you and let you know whether your claim is granted or refused. If the agency denies your claim, you usually have the right to file a lawsuit for damages.

    However, since this process differs from state to state, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after getting into an accident with a police officer. Having a determined attorney in your corner can protect your rights and ensure you follow the correct steps. Making a mistake while filing your claim could make it impossible to recover compensation.

  • Can I File a Claim if My Loved One Was Killed in a Police-Involved Crash?

    A close family member of an individual killed in a police officer-involved crash could file a wrongful death lawsuit and hold a public entity liable for damages. We understand that no compensation can bring back your loved one or turn back the time. However, receiving damages can help families avoid financial chaos after the death of their loved one. Compensation available can vary according to your state laws. However, you could receive:

    • Funeral and burial expenses
    • Loss of income the decedent would have earned
    • Loss of services the deceased individual would have provided
    • Medical expenses before death
    • Loss of consortium

    If you believe you have a case, Morgan & Morgan could help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible entity and receive compensation.

  • Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident With a Police Officer?

    As we have seen, collisions involving police officers are typically more complex and convoluted than regular car accident cases. Claims or lawsuits involving local and state government employees can be lengthy and involve a different legal process than ordinary personal injury cases. Moreover, handling your claim on your own can be frustrating, as you may get conflicting answers from government agencies.

    Unfortunately, making a minor mistake with your claim or missing your deadline for filing suit could prohibit you from recovering compensation. Moreover, if you are still recovering, dealing with government bureaucracy can be a considerable burden when you should be concentrating on healing. Involving a seasoned car accident attorney from the beginning of your claim can cut down on stress and give you the best chance to receive the settlement you need and deserve.

  • How Can a Car Accident Lawyer at Morgan & Morgan Help Me?

    Filing a lawsuit against a police department or another public entity can be full of pitfalls for claimants. There are additional deadlines and stringent rules to observe. However, our attorneys know how to sue the government and could help you get what you deserve if a police officer hits your car. We could handle your injury claim from start to finish while you can concentrate on your health and recovery. Some ways in which we can help you and progress your case include:  

    • Ensure you receive adequate medical help
    • Gather and organize the critical evidence for your claim
    • Prove your damages
    • Liaise with your medical providers to obtain records proving your injuries
    • Show a police officer’s negligence or recklessness
    • Negotiate an adequate out-of-court settlement
    • Hire investigators and expert witnesses to strengthen your claim
    • File a lawsuit if necessary
    • Present your case powerfully at trial

    You Only Pay if We Win

    Unlike some other law firms, we never charge our clients a dime upfront. When we take your accident case, you are not incurring any financial risks. We only get paid if and when we win, and you receive compensation.

    Size Matters

    As America’s largest personal injury firm, we have the resources and stamina to take on police departments and other public entities. Our experienced trial attorneys can leave no stone unturned in fighting for the payout you deserve, if necessary, at trial. Having recovered more than $20 billion in damages for our clients, Morgan & Morgan’s results speak for themselves.

  • What Is the Average Settlement for a Police-Involved Accident?

    There is no average settlement for any car accident claim, as what you can receive will depend on your crash’s unique facts and circumstances. However, some factors that  can determine the amount of your settlement include:

    • The scope and severity of your injuries
    • The costs of your medical treatments and future expected healthcare expenses
    • Any income loss and future loss of wages due to your accident injuries
    • The amount of your pain and suffering
    • The extent of any emotional trauma from the accident
    • The degree of fault of the police officer
    • Whether you are experiencing reduced life quality due to your injury

    In addition to your damages, there can also be other considerations in claims against the government. In some states, damages against public entities are capped. Therefore, there could be a maximum amount you can recover, regardless of whether your damages exceed the cap. Either way, a motivated attorney can give you the best shot at getting the settlement you need to pay your bills and move on with your life after a crash.

  • Morgan & Morgan Fights for Victims of Police Negligence

    Getting hurt in an accident with a police officer can feel confusing and intimidating. Victims may believe that they are unable to claim compensation from a police department. However, if a government employee negligently caused your injuries and damages, you should not be burdened with the costs. Morgan & Morgan has your back. Our experienced and tenacious car accident lawyers can handle even challenging claims and help victims receive the compensation to which they are entitled. However, in claims against the government, time is of the essence. Therefore, don’t delay and contact us now to determine your next best steps.

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