If you have been involved in an accident with a City police car and believe that you were not at fault, you may be able to file a claim against the city police department for compensation if your vehicle was damaged, or if you were injured, or both. Police officers are not above the law. They must drive their vehicles with other drivers’ safety in mind. Only in an emergency are city police officers and the city police department protected from legal action against them.
How to File a Claim For an Accident With a Police Car
Because the police department is part of the government of the City of Columbus, or any other city, you will need to file a “notice of claim” with the police department. This is an initial claim against the police department alleging that negligent behavior by one or more officers has caused the damage and / or injuries you state. Government entities in Ohio do not allow you to file a personal injury claim directly against any of their departments until a notice of claim has been rejected.
You have a little less time to file this initial claim than you would with a private individual’s insurer. You must submit your claim within 2 years of the accident with all the documentation detailing when the accident took place, how it happened, what property of yours was damaged, the extent of the injuries, if any, and why you think the police department was liable for compensation.
The department should respond within 4 to 6 weeks. If they reject your claim, this then allows you to sue the department by filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. You will need to present the same evidence as before together with clear justification for the amount claimed.
How to Prove that a Police Car Was at Fault
You must be able to prove that the damage to your vehicle and any injuries sustained were a direct result of negligent driving by one or more police officers who were driving the police car at the time of the crash. Typical reasons for alleging that the officers(s) were at fault include: speeding, distracted driving, intoxication, failure to yield the right of way, etc.
Evidence of fault would include any or all of the following:
- video footage from a nearby surveillance camera;
- your own photos showing damage;
- a damage report from a vehicle repair facility;
- doctor’s report giving details of injuries;
- eye-witness statements.
A police report would be a common form of evidence at most traffic accidents, but in view of the fact that it is the police officer(s) actions that are alleged to be the cause of your accident, you may not be able to use this particular form of evidence.
Get Help When Filing a Claim Against the City
A claim against any government entity is challenging and particularly if it is aimed directly at the city’s police department. You are likely to have a much better chance of success if you use an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim.
You are welcome to complete the free case evaluation form below to ensure your claim is on the right track.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against the City of Columbus, the state Government of Ohio, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.