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.