From time to time, police cars and the officers in them are involved in quite serious accidents. It’s not that they are accident prone or are deliberately driving around aggressively, but a moment’s inattention or negligent action can lead to an accident on a busy street.
Unless the police car was responding to an emergency they must obey the same rules as anyone else on the road. If you have been involved in an accident with a police car you may be able to obtain compensation if you have proof that the police officer driving the car that hit you was at fault. Because of the added complication of filing a claim against a government agency, you may decide to contact a personal injury lawyer before submitting your claim.
How to File a Claim for an Accident With a Police Car
The procedure for obtaining compensation from a government agency is lengthier than claiming from a private individual driver. You must first submit a ‘notice of claim’ in writing to the police department. This is, in effect, a notice of intent to sue the department for damages. This must be done within 3 years of the date of the accident. You need to submit evidence of the accident with the claim form, including a statement outlining why you think the police officer was at fault.
It is quite common for these initial claims to be rejected, but this isn’t the end of your claim. You now have the right to take further legal action through the civil court. A personal injury claim against the city police department should be initiated within 3 years of the accident happening.
How to Prove that a City Police Car Was at Fault
It is important to have sufficient proof that the accident with the police car was due to a negligent act by the officer driving the car that hit you. Typically, you would expect to obtain a police accident report, but you may be forced to rely on other sort of proof such as:
- photos taken of the damage to the car, the positions of the two cars after impact, any other physical evidence at the crash site;
- eye witness details from anyone who saw the accident happen and who is prepared to make a statement;
- video footage if available from any nearby video surveillance or traffic monitoring camera;
- car damage report made by a qualified car mechanic.
Get Help When Filing a Claim Against the City
Winning a claim against the police department is not an easy task. You are restricted by time and must have rigorous proof that you were not at fault and that the accident was due to negligence on part of the officer driving the car. You are advised to hire a personal injury lawyer throughout this claim process.
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 Jacksonville, the state Government of Florida, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.