Last updated on: October 11, 2022

You probably expect the police to protect you, so it can come as a total surprise when a police car crashes into you. It might surprise you, though, that an accident with a police car is not that different from any other accident. It is much like running into any other city or county owned vehicle.

What‘s The Likelihood Of Being Hit By A Police Car And Do I Need To Call The Police?

While you might expect police officers to exercise more caution while driving than the average driver, they can still get into accidents like anyone else. 

Around thirteen auto accidents occur in the United States every minute, and the average person gets in a crash about once every 17.9 years. It is not unlikely that you could be involved in a car accident, and police cars are no exception to those numbers.

If you are in a crash with a police officer, you should still call the police. A reporting officer will come to the accident scene and gather the necessary information to write up the report.  

What Should I Do If A Police Car Hits Me?

The steps you should take after you are in an accident with a police officer are the same as the steps you should take in any other kind of car accident. You might feel even more nervous in a crash with a police officer than with another driver, but it is not up to the police officer to determine fault after the accident. It is ultimately up to a jury to decide who was at fault for the accident.

First, check for injuries and make sure you do not require emergency medical treatment. If your car is in the middle of the road, try to get to the shoulder if possible.

Next, check on the police officer to see whether he or she needs emergency medical help. The officer will probably radio dispatch to send an investigating officer if he or she is conscious.

The reporting officer will come and put together the crash report, which will contain the basic facts about how the accident occurred and some of the officer’s initial impressions about the accident, often including who the officer believes is at fault. You should request a copy of the accident report for your records.ds

Conduct your own documentation at the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, your injuries, the scene of the accident, and anything unusual about the accident. Note construction zones, inclement weather conditions, or other obstacles that caught you or the other driver off-guard.

Collect the information from any other drivers in the accident. Let your insurance company know what happened, but do not make any statements to the insurance company or the other drivers accepting fault for the accident.

Soon after the accident, make an appointment with your doctor. Even if you do not think you were seriously injured, waiting too long to see a doctor might make it difficult to prove later that you suffered an injury at all. A doctor’s appointment can equip you with evidence that you were injured and experienced financial and emotional loss from the injury.

Finally, get in touch with a police car accident attorney. While you should take the same set of actions after a police car accident as any other accident, cases involving police officers can be more complicated legally. Find a personal injury attorney with the experience to help you pursue maximum compensation.

The Importance Of Hiring An Attorney

If you decide to file a claim against a police officer or police department and you have no prior experience with lawsuits, you might miss important deadlines or other mandatory requirements. A lawyer with the right skill and knowledge can help ensure that your claim goes smoothly and reduces the chance that your claim is dismissed.  

Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group want to help you recover from the injuries you received because of the crash. Call 888-541-6283 to speak with one of our skilled lawyers and schedule your free consultation.

How Can I Prove That The Police Car Was At Fault?

Sometimes the way the accident occurred will be apparent from the evidence: tire marks on the road, damage to the vehicles, dashcam footage, etc. However, evidence can be interpreted in different ways, and an attorney can help ensure that your side of the story is told clearly.

Speak with witnesses who saw the accident and collect their contact information at the scene. They could potentially make statements during litigation to help support your claims and, if you go to trial, testify on your behalf.

Who Is Usually Liable For A Police Car Accident?

When there is an automobile accident, the person who causes the accident by acting carelessly is typically at fault. The at-fault driver acts carelessly when he or she disobeys traffic laws or drives recklessly. If that driver is found to be negligent, he or she is responsible for paying for the injuries and damages of the other drivers involved.

However, since special laws apply to police officers, you might have more difficulty showing that you were not at fault for the accident. 

A police officer does not have to follow traffic laws when responding to an emergency. If a police officer was operating an emergency vehicle when he or she ran a red light, the officer may not be held liable if he or she was reasonably using flashing lights and sirens. 

In many states, police have sovereign immunity from liability, which prevents you from filing a personal injury claim against them. However, if you can prove that the officer was acting outside of the scope of his or her employment, you may be able to hold him or her liable for the accident.

Who Should I Sue If I Get Hit By A Police Car?

In cases involving an accident with a police officer, there are a few parties you might consider suing. You might consider suing the police department or the police officer as an individual.

If the police officer who hit you was acting within the scope of his or her employment, you must sue the officer’s employer, the government. In that case, you will probably not be able to recover for your injury, since government employees are usually protected under sovereign immunity.

However, if you can show that the police officer was acting outside of the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, you can sue the officer as an individual. It may still require unique circumstances to show that the police officer was acting outside of his or her scope of employment when he or she hit you—such as if the officer was using the car for personal reasons or was being grossly negligent.

Filing A Claim For A Police Car Crash

The amount of time you have to file your claim depends on which state you live in. Regardless of your state, you must file within the statute of limitations, or you could lose your opportunity to file at all.

When you do file a claim against either the police officer or the police department, it should include a description of the incident along with the time and place the accident occurred and the names of the people involved; a description of your damages and losses; and a request for payment. A lawyer can help you write and file your claim to help you meet the deadline and the other procedural and substantive requirements.

Who Is At Fault In A Collision With A Police Car?

The driver whose negligence caused the crash is usually considered at fault for the accident. Negligence occurs when the driver speeds or fails to follow the rules of the road.

If you were hurt in a crash with a police car, various parties could be at fault: the officer, the police department, the city, county, state, or federal government, or a fleeing suspect. However, for you to hold a police officer responsible for the crash, you must show that he or she was acting outside of his or her scope of employment, as described earlier.

Is A Police Officer Exempt From Traffic Laws?

Police vehicles and other emergency vehicles have traffic law exemptions in most states. You have probably seen an ambulance pass through a red light with its sirens ringing and lights flashing.

Police officers do not need to obey traffic laws when they are responding to an emergency, pursuing a criminal suspect, using emergency sirens and lights, or driving an emergency vehicle. 

The police officer must have a valid reason for not obeying the law. If the officer violated a law without a valid reason, then he or she could be held liable for your injuries.

What’s The Average Compensation For Being Hit By A Police Car?

After a car crash, you might be left with lifelong injuries. As a victim of a crash with a police car, you could be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

The amount of compensation you could receive depends on those damages. Speak with a lawyer to understand your damages and the amount that you could receive from your claim.

Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today

At Zinda Law Group, our experienced attorneys have recovered compensation for numerous clients across multiple jurisdictions. Your case will be handled with compassion and expertise, allowing you to rebuild your life without worrying about whether your claim is being handled well. 

If you or a loved one has been injured, call Zinda Law Group at (888)-671-5127 today. Our No-Win, No-Fee Guarantee means that you don’t pay anything unless you receive a positive verdict. 

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