What to Do if You are Hit by an Oakland City Police Car

There is always a small chance that you could be hit by a city police car, especially as they are frequently involved in high speed pursuit of people they think have been offending. Police officers are under pressure to prevent and solve crimes, but are not expected to put innocent members of the community in danger by their driving behavior. If you have been hit by a police car, you have the right to seek compensation from the police department if you can prove that the officer driving the car was driving unsafely.

You may need help from a personal injury lawyer when filing a claim against the city as it can be a more complicated process than claiming compensation from a private individual driver.

How to File a Claim for an Accident With a Police Car

Because a city’s police department is covered by the state’s sovereign immunity rules, you must have clear evidence that one of the city’s police officers was negligent and this negligence caused the accident you were involved in. You must first file a claim form with the police department, outlining the reasons why you think one of their officers was to blame for the accident, together with full details of when and where the accident took place. This ‘notice of claim’ must be filed within 6 months of the date of the accident.

It is common for these initial claims to be rejected, forcing you to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. You cannot file a PI claim without submitting the initial claim with the department. A PI claim must be submitted within 3 years of the accident.

How to Prove that a City Police Car Was at Fault

Evidence that negligence caused the accident must be made available. If not too badly injured you should be able to take down details of any eye witnesses who saw the accident happen. Take their contact details and record a statement on the spot if you have a voice recorder app. Take photos with your smart phone if you have one showing the damage to the cars and their relative positions. Make a note of what you can remember about the accident, especially if you saw the officer driving the police car doing anything unusual. Look out for nearby security or traffic cameras. The accident may have inadvertently been recorded and you could ask your lawyer to retrieve video footage. Get the car repair yard to provide a damage report on your vehicle as this can shed some light on how the accident happened.

Get Help When Filing a Claim Against a City

You may find it an uphill struggle claiming compensation from the city’s police department. You cannot afford to miss evidence that can help your case or not keep to rigid time limits. It is advisable to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you as you work your way through this sort of claim.

Additional Resources

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 Oakland, the state Government of California, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.