If you have been hit by a city police car and you know it wasn’t your fault, you can claim damages from the city’s police department. Police officers must take care when driving just like any other drivers. The only exception is when officers are in active pursuit of a criminal or suspected criminal or some other emergency.
Because police officers are employed by the city, you will need to file your claim with the police department and not individual officers if you are injured or your car damaged in an avoidable accident. You can claim for damage to your car and the cost of medical treatment, but must be able to prove that the accident was due to negligence on part of the officer who was driving the police car that hit you.
How to File a Claim for an Accident With a Police Car
Fresno’s police department, like any other police department, is open to claims of negligence following a police car accident. You will need to file an initial ‘notice of claim’ directly with the police department outlining the reasons for your claim. Include the date, time and location of the accident and why you believe the police officer was at fault. Submit the claim with as much proof as you have got and the amount you are claiming.
Don’t expect an instant payment. Many claims of this nature are denied. You must submit your claim within 6 months of the accident and then the department has 45days to respond.
If your claim is rejected, you have the option of pursuing a personal injury claim against the department through the civil court. You may need a personal injury lawyer to provide legal assistance at this stage.
How to Prove that a City Police Car Was at Fault
You will need proof that the police officer whose driving caused the accident you were involved in was negligent. Here are some examples of evidence which you should pursue to help you support your case against the police department.
- Get eye witness contact details and names. If you can record a statement from them or at least ask them to make a written statement later on, this will be invaluable.
- Take photos if you can of the 2 cars and any damage done to them. If there are any marks on the road surface or objects on the side of the road, make a note of them.
- There may be a surveillance or security camera nearby. If there is, make a note of it as the video footage could be retrieved as evidence against the police officer.
Get Help When Filing a Claim Against the City
Obtaining compensation from a city or state government department is problematic, but not impossible. The procedure is undoubtedly more time consuming and complex than filing a claim directly with an individual at-fault driver’s insurer. You should contact a personal injury lawyer for help if you want to ensure you get the maximum compensation payment after a police department car accident.
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 Fresno, the state Government of California, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.