If you were struck by a police vehicle and your life has since been turned upside-down, it’s only natural to search for someone to blame. The associated losses are probably adding up fast, after all, and you won’t be able to seek compensation for any of them until you can identify the liable party or parties.
Generally speaking, the process for assigning financial responsibility for an accident involving a police vehicle is the same as it is for any other kind of collision. Your legal team will conduct an investigation and examine the situation from all angles to determine how and why the wreck occurred.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash, potentially liable parties include:
1. The Municipality That Employed the Officer
In most cases, employers are liable for any damages their employees cause while on the job. That means if the officer who was operating the vehicle that struck you was acting within the scope of duty at the time, you likely have grounds for a claim against the municipality that hired them. Since suing a government agency has a few additional hurdles, it’s wise to consult an attorney who’s familiar with doing so before proceeding.
If you were hit by a police vehicle that was chasing a fleeing suspect at the time, it’s going to complicate your claim further. There are special rules and regulations that apply under such circumstances. Since this is the most common kind of collision involving police vehicles, though, there’s a good chance an attorney who’s familiar with police accidents in general will be well aware of the additional stipulations.
2. The Officer Who Was Driving the Vehicle at the Time
If the officer who struck you was at-fault for the crash but was not on the clock at the time, you may be able to name them personally in your claim. Whether this is the route you end up taking will depend on a host of factors, including why the officer was driving an official vehicle despite not working when the accident occurred.
3. Another Motorist
If another motorist was ultimately to blame for the crash and a police vehicle just happened to be involved, you can likely file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
4. A Maintenance Contractor
If the police vehicle hit you because of a mechanical malfunction, the contractor responsible for maintaining the municipality’s fleet may be to blame. Should this be the case, you’ll likely need testimony from various auto experts to bolster your claim.
5. A Parts or Vehicle Manufacturer
Sometimes, defective parts are to blame for crashes. When this is the case, victims can usually hold the manufacturer of the part or vehicle in question liable. If the police vehicle hit you because it had a defective component, a product liability attorney should be able to help.
Speak with a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you were hit by a police vehicle and you want to hold the liable party accountable, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. A top-rated trial attorney, Michael personally handles every case he takes on. As such, you can be sure you’ll have a direct line of contact to him from day one. To schedule a free initial consultation with this Long Beach car accident lawyer, call (562) 206-1939 or submit the Online Contact Form.
Download Our Car Crash Emergency Response .PDF
In case you ever find yourself in another collision, it’s wise to document the scene. If you print our Car Crash Emergency Response .pdf and keep a copy in each of your vehicles, you’ll always have a checklist on hand for recording essential details before leaving the area. Download it HERE for free.
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