What to Do if you are Injured By a Police or City Vehicle?

Accidents involving police cars are not treated like any other car accident. If another vehicle or a pedestrian is hit by a police car, the victim may assume that police are immune to the law. This is not the case, police and city agencies are still liable to a pedestrian or driver injured by a police vehicle. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident with a police or city vehicle it is important that you retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney.

What to Do if you are Injured By a Police or City Vehicle

After an accident, the first thing you should do is make sure you are safe and okay. The victim should start by seeking immediate medical attention, whether they feel injured or not. 

After an accident with a police vehicle, don’t admit liability. It can be difficult to reverse this admission of guilt. Although it may be difficult, do not be intimidated by the police officer, into admitting fault. The officer involved in the accident has no right to determine who is at fault. The evidence of the accident scene will determine who was at fault. 

The best move after an accident with a police vehicle is to contact an experienced car accident attorney. Police officers are not covered by general insurance coverage but by the city insurance policy. The city agency tends to take a lot of time before reviewing claims. Therefore, it is prudent to seek help from an advocate so that they can pressure the police to compensate you on time and injuries. 

Are You Automatically at Fault When Involved in An Accident with A Police Vehicle? 

Any driver can be reckless whether they are a police officer or a normal everyday driver. If a police driver was negligent, then they are at fault for the accident. For example, if a police officer hits another car after running a red light, then they are the cause of the accident. 

However, where the accident becomes complex is when we look at the question, what was the police officer doing at the time of the accident? If the police driver was not responding to an emergency call and they are found negligent, you should be compensated for the injuries caused by the accident. 

In many instances, accidents with police cars involve some violation of traffic laws such as speeding, failure to signal, running a stop sign, failure to yield the right way, driving on the wrong side of the road, an illegal left turn or a dangerous U-turn among others. 

If the police driver was responding to an emergency call or in the process of performing their job utilizing sirens and lights, then they are exempted from liability. Thus, a police officer may not be held negligent for an accident if he or she was operating an authorized emergency vehicle in response to an emergency situation and reasonably using lights and sirens.

Should You Consult A Car Accident Attorney When Filing A Claim Against the Police Department? 

Accidents involving police cars are more complicated than you may think. The process of filing a claim against the police department is very different from regular car claims. Besides, these claims take longer than anticipated before they are resolved. 

If you have been in a car accident with a police officer, there are steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights in the event you later need to make a claim for compensation for injuries you suffered.

Assuming that the police officer in the accident is not badly hurt or unconscious, he or she will likely immediately radio police dispatch to send another officer to investigate the accident and send emergency medical services, if needed. Other officers who respond to the scene will generate an accident and/or incident report. You should request a copy of all publicly available accident or incident reports.

If possible, you should try to take photographs of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles involved in the accident, damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road, the road lines and traffic controls at the scene, and the lighting, weather, road, and traffic conditions at the time of the accident. If you have visible injuries, you may want to photograph those as well.

You should then make an appointment and speak to an experienced police car accident attorney about your options. Car accidents involving police vehicles are more complicated than other kinds of motor vehicle accidents. It can be very difficult to hold police departments accountable when officers cause car accidents, so you need aggressive representation on your side to give you the best chance at securing the compensation you deserve. The limited amount of time you have to notify a municipal government of a pending claim underscores the importance of talking to a lawyer as soon as possible.

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If you would like to speak with an experienced car accident attorney, please call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.

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