Police officers are on the road just as much (if not more) as you are. Officers rush to crime scenes and other accidents, try to follow drivers that are driving carelessly, and patrol streets. So it stands to reason that sometimes a police officers might get in a car accident or two. Accidents of these types can range from a parked car incident to a full rear-end collision.
Even though accidents involving police cars are not uncommon, it is often harder to sue the state when a police officer is at fault. To do this successfully, you will need to have an experienced attorney on your side in addition to understanding and following the correct and proper procedure – failure to do so might not help your case.
The Steps to Take
As with any other car accident, it’s important to get all the right information immediately. The following must be noted:
- Name of the officer
- Any witnesses names
- Street where accident happened
- Time of day
- Description of incident
Make sure to get a copy of the police report, and always call a separate patrol car when an accident happens – do not allow the officers involved in the crash to write up a report. Respectfully request an independent investigation. If the officer who caused the collision must write up the report, make sure to get a copy of the report and make sure it includes the information that you want it to include.
When it comes to being involved in an accident with the state, it is up to you to prove that you were not at fault. Even if the incident seems obvious, it’s not. You will have to prove that you were not driving carelessly, and this could be hard to do – unless the auto accident was a rear-end collision at a traffic light, it is often harder to prove that an accident was not your fault when suing the state.
You must also file a claim with the city if you are attempting to collect money for damages. Keep in mind that you have to file this claim before you try to sue the state. If the claim is not filed, your lawsuit might be thrown out of court.
It is not easy to collect money from the state when an accident happens. In addition to police officers, it is possible to be involved in an accident with any state vehicle including ambulances, fire trucks, school buses, and heavy machinery and equipment. In every case, you have to remember three very important things:
1. Unless liability is crystal clear, it is up to you to prove exactly how the accident happened and who was at fault.
2. You must file a claim with the city before you try to sue the government.
3. Typically, you cannot sue a person – you must sue the city, county or state.