Over 15,000 car accidents happen in the U.S. every day. Unfortunately, these crashes frequently result in injury or death. If you were hurt in a collision, you may normally expect to recover your financial losses with an insurance claim or a civil suit.
However, your options may be limited if your vehicle was struck by a police car. It’s important to note whether the cop car that hit you was responding to an emergency or simply driving carelessly. Learn more about your legal right to seek reimbursement for your injuries if a cop car hits you.
Who Is at Fault in a Collision With a Police Car?
After a car accident, fault is typically assigned to the driver who acted negligently. If a driver is speeding or otherwise breaks the law leading up to a crash, they may be at fault.
Police car accidents commonly involve:
- Speeding above the posted limit
- Running through a red light or stop sign
- Failing to yield
- Wrong-way driving
- Illegal U-turns
If you were injured in a police vehicle collision, you may be able to seek damages from:
- The officer who hit you
- A police department
- State, city, county, or federal government
- A fleeing suspect
When a police officer crashes into another vehicle and causes injuries or property damage, the liable party can be held financially responsible. However, some situations will require a police officer to speed or break traffic laws.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
When Is a Police Officer Exempt from Traffic Laws?
Most states allow traffic law exemptions for emergency vehicles. For example, an emergency could require a police car, ambulance, or firetruck to speed or illegally pass other cars when lives are in danger.
A police officer may be exempt from traffic laws if they were:
- Responding to an emergency when the accident occurred
- In pursuit of a criminal suspect
- Driving an emergency vehicle
- Displaying emergency lights and sirens
Police officers do not get to violate laws without a valid reason. If a police officer is driving recklessly when there is no emergency or causes a wreck due to distracted driving, they may be liable for damages.
Potential Damages for a Collision Involving a Police Car
A car crash can leave you injured and unable to work for weeks or months to come. In catastrophic accidents, someone can even be permanently disabled or killed. Personal injury laws allow you to seek damages following a collision, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle repairs
Can You File for Wrongful Death After a Crash With a Police Car?
If you lost a loved one in a car accident involving a cop car, you may have a right to seek wrongful death damages. Filing a lawsuit against the city or public entity could allow your family to be reimbursed for expenses incurred by your relative’s wrongful death, such as:
- Your loved one’s medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Burial or cremation
- Loss of consortium
You may be eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit if you are a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent. Your lawyer can help you hold the responsible party accountable for your loved one’s passing.
Should You Seek Compensation Through Your Auto Insurance?
It can be difficult to hold a police officer or their employer accountable for a car accident. Litigation involving government agencies can be needlessly complicated and tiresome. Depending on the extent of your damages, your best course of action may be to go through your personal auto insurance.
Your collision insurance coverage may provide you with the money you need for car repairs. Filing a claim with your insurer is often easier and faster than filing a civil suit. Your lawyer can review your case to determine your optimal option for compensation.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for an Accident Involving a Police Car?
You should at least consult with a lawyer, even if you were in a minor car accident. Personal injury attorneys often offer complimentary case reviews with no risk to you. This allows you to ensure that you work with a qualified team that understands how to help you.
Your attorney can assist you with your case by:
- Explaining relevant traffic laws
- Gathering and preserving evidence
- Investigating the cause of your collision
- Determining whether the cop who hit you acted negligently
- Calculating the total of your accident-related losses
- Filing your insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation
- Handling all communications with insurance
When a police car is involved, accident claims are more complicated. No one enjoys dealing with city or government agencies. You can trust an attorney to cut through the bureaucracy and get the results you are after.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.