Police officers are not above the law and must drive safely and within the law unless they are responding to an emergency. Some accidents happen when police officers are in pursuit of a suspected offender, but this is not an excuse for dangerous driving.
If you are hit by a police car, you can file a claim for damages with the police department, but the process is not as straightforward as a claim against a private individual. It is worth using a personal injury lawyer to help you through the process.
How to File a Claim for an Accident With a Police Car
The City Police Department as a government agency is partly covered by the concept of sovereign immunity, which limits civil claims by private citizens. The police department is not immune from legal action if it can be proved that negligence on part of one of their officers caused an accident. You will firstly need to file a ‘notice of claim’ with the police department within 180 days of the accident. This must be submitted with evidence that negligence was involved as well as details of the accident itself, including how much you are claiming in compensation. A response should be made within 60 days of the claim receipt.
If the claim is rejected, it paves the way for you to file a personal injury claim against the department in the same way as you would have done against a private individual.
How to Prove that a City Police Car Was at Fault
The city will not pay any compensation unless it can be proven that the officer driving the police car that hit you was to blame for the accident, i.e. it wasn’t your fault and the accident could have been prevented if the officer had been driving safely. The sort of proof that you should obtain to support your claim is no different from any other crash, but you may not get such an objective crash report from the police considering that it is the police department that is alleged to have caused the accident. Good examples of proof include:
- Video footage taken of the accident by a nearby security or traffic monitoring camera. A lawyer can help to obtain this footage;
- Dash cam video footage if this sort of camera was mounted on the police car;
- Photos of the crash scene and the two cars involved;
- Eyewitness statements recorded at the crash scene or submitted later.
Get Help When Filing a Claim Against A City
No legal action taken against a government agency is likely to be easy. You are advised to get legal advice from a personal injury lawyer before submitting your initial notice of clam to make sure you have sufficient evidence to make your case convincing.
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 Tucson, the state Government of Arizona, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.