Police officers are regularly involved in intense and demanding physical and mental activities. Though they are trained for most of what the encounter, they are however not immune to mistakes. Policing jobs expose officers to a lot of unplanned scenarios that could come with devastating consequences for others. As a road user, you may sustain serious injuries as a result of an accident caused by police vehicles. This means you may eventually need the services of personal injury attorneys Bronx

Usually, when you’re injured by someone else, the first idea on your mind is to call the police. But who do you call if you were hit by the police?  Can you sue a police officer for hitting you while driving? 

As much as the law, especially civil law, is quite benevolent to police officers, it doesn’t mean they can get away with anything. In New York, if a police officer loses control of his car and hits you or your car, you are not entirely powerless. You can hold the New York police department liable for damages to your car or personal injuries you may sustain. Legally, you should be able to get a befitting compensation for damages and personal injuries, but that may all depend on who’s taking your case. 

DO YOU NEED A LAWYER FOR YOU CLAIM

You do not necessarily need a lawyer to get compensation for damages, but it is, however, necessary if you need the best result. Sure, the law is quite clear that you should be compensated, but nothing might actually happen if you aren’t taking the necessary legal steps to achieve that. The legal details of damage claims – in this case against law enforcement officers – could be quite complicated. Accidents involving police cars are not treated like regular car accidents; the claims process may be different and it may take a significantly longer time before your claim is reviewed. 

You might need the expertise of an attorney as well as the huge resources at their disposal to win a claim against law enforcement. The best thing to do after being involved in an accident with a police car is to call a car accident or personal injury lawyer. This specialist lawyers have what it takes to put pressure on the police department to review your case faster and pay a befitting compensation and in time. 

Doing a case such as this by yourself might mean you’ll be getting compensations which are way lower than what you would get with the help of a lawyer. 

However, you must act fast, failing to file a claim on time might mean you’re close to losing all rights to compensation. To protect the government from too many lawsuits, there’s a shorter window to file damage claims against government agencies like the police department. While you’ll typically get a longer time for damages to claim against other entities, you’ll have only 90 days to send in your notice of claims against the police. If everything is done properly, you’ll have a maximum of one year and 90 days to file a civil lawsuit against the police department.

From here on, lots of things come into play. Liability might depend on whether the police officer got involved in the accident while responding to an emergency or was driving negligently. Whether the officer was driving an authorized emergency vehicle or a private car. It also matters whether the police had lights and sirens on, so you should try to take note of these seemingly mundane details. When reviewing evidence to determine who’s at fault, these details may be weighted quite heavily. 

But importantly, when driving you are driving yourself, never admit fault when involved in an accident with a police officer. The urge to admit fault and say you’re sorry may become high once you realize you collided with a police officer. Your utterances at that point may hold a lot of weight, especially when the other party – a law enforcement officer – knows exactly how to use them against you. Even if the police officer might try to intimidate you, limit your words, try to say as little as possible. 

Of course, the police officer might try to put the blame on you. But legally, the police officer involved in the accident with you isn’t in the right place to decide whose fault it was. The issue of who’s at fault is left to the law court, so you’re not unnecessarily subjected to the officer’s lopsided judgments.  

WHAT HAPPENS IF A LOVED ONE IS KILLED BY A POLICE VEHICLE? 

There are times when things get a little too serious, leading to fatal injuries and death of victims. Cases involving death are considered more prudently and could be much more complex. Nonetheless, families of victims that died in a crash involving a police car can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the local police department. 

Damage claims in a wrongful death lawsuit could get as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars. The state, city or county could be liable to compensation for emotional distress caused by loss of a family member, wages the family member would have earned and a handful of others. 

CAN YOU GET PROPERLY COMPENSATED? 

In an emergency, police officers are allowed to drive in ways that aren’t particularly law abiding. In some situations, they are allowed to run red lights, pass speed limits, take wrong u-turns, violate the right of way and several other driving regulations. If you know a little about these legal exceptions for police officers, you’ll probably assume you won’t get compensated if the hit you while breaking these rules. 

As long as you aren’t the erring party, your chance of compensation is still high as long as you avail yourself of the services of a good lawyer. As a precaution, you should still get a lawyer even if you think you are the erring party. 

The prospect of being involved in an auto accident is worrisome enough, being involved in one with the police could even be more devastating. A police officer is an authority figure so it’s not entirely unusual to feel a little intimidated. However, keep in mind that, a car accident involving a police officer – especially an erring one – is still an automobile accident and you still have quite as much rights as you would when involving ordinary people. Don’t hesitate in any way to seek compensation if you or a loved one has been injured by a police car. It’s simply common sense – no one is above the law.