Police car accidents may be few and far between, but they certainly still happen occasionally. Many police car accidents happen when police cars are in pursuit of other drivers, e.g. when pursuing someone speeding. Because these accidents may happen when a police car is itself speeding it can cause serious damage and injuries.
If you have been hit by a police car, you have the right to claim compensation for the cost of medical treatment, loss of earnings and property damage as long as the police car wasn’t involved in responding to a genuine emergency. You may need help from a personal injury lawyer during the claim process.
How to File a Claim for an Accident With a Police Car
Filing a claim for damages against any government agency is a little more complicated than a claim against a private individual or business. You must first file a ‘notice of claim’ against the city department, in this case, the specific police department. This must be done within 6 months of the date of the accident. The completed claim form must be accompanied by details of the accident and a reason for alleging that the police officer(s)’ negligence caused the accident.
You may be given compensation as requested, but more likely your claim will be rejected. This allows you to take the matter further through a civil action against the police department. A personal injury claim must be filed within 3 years of the accident.
How to Prove that a City Police Car Was at Fault
You will need proof that the crash you were involved in was the fault of the officer driving the police car. Police officers are expected to drive safely and obey normal traffic rules as long as they are not responding to an emergency in which a person’s life is in danger. Examples of proof you will need are the same as for any car crash, but you may not be able to rely on an objective police accident report if it is the police who are being accused of causing the accident. Here is some of the proof you may be able to use:
- Statements from reliable eye witnesses who saw the accident happen;
- Photos taken at the crash scene;
- Video footage that might have been recorded by a nearby surveillance camera;
- Damage report from a car repair yard.
Get Help When Filing a Claim Against A City
Filing a claim against a city police department is not as straightforward as a claim against a private individual car driver. You have shorter time limits imposed on you and a double claim process. You are advised to use a personal injury lawyer throughout.
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 Stockton, the state Government of California, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.