They’re here to serve and protect. In doing so, sometimes bystanders are at risk. During a high-speed chase, for example, or answering an urgent 911 call, accidents happen. They can happen anytime, anywhere, and they can happen to you.
On an evening in October 2017, for example, a 29-year-old woman in Greenfield, Massachusetts had just turned from Sanderson Street onto High Street—in a 30-mph zone. Greenfield Police Sgt. James Rode, who was answering a call and traveling south on High Street at 83 mph, collided with the 29-year-old woman’s car, killing her instantly
But sometimes police officers aren’t even answering a call or involved in a chase. Sometimes they’re just distracted.
In June 2019, a woman was walking through a police station parking lot in Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania, when, out of nowhere, a cruiser collided with her from behind. The woman, who claims that she’s “lucky to be alive,” has allegedly collected $30,000 in medical expenses.
These kinds of incidents happen all the time, across the country.
Police are not above the law
It can be difficult—and intimidating—to proceed with legal action following a police-car-related injury. Many people assume that police have immunity of some kind. This is not the case. An auto accident with an at-fault police car is no different than an accident with any other at-fault vehicle.
Following an accident with a reckless or distracted police car, consider the following:
- Make sure everyone in your party is okay. If there are any obvious or suspected injuries, do not move the injured person until medical assistance arrives.
- Do not admit fault. This can be difficult, since you’re dealing with an at-fault police officer.
- Consider the circumstances of the accident. Was the police cruiser speeding? Did they run a red light? Look for witnesses, if possible.
- Ultimately, contact a competent motor vehicle accident attorney. Police departments cherish a clean record and can sometimes resort to intimidation tactics.
There are exceptions
In the event of a motor vehicle accident involving a police cruiser, it’s not always cut and dried. If the involving officer was responding to a call, involved in a high-speed chase or a rescue operation, then things can get complicated.
However, for this emergency exemption to fly, the officer generally needs to have his lights and siren going to warn other drivers. But even following these precautions, it is still possible that the officer acted with negligence.
Who is liable?
Economic damages resulting in a serious accident can sometimes climb into the hundreds of thousands—not to mention emotional damages. In other words, this is serious.
If you suffer an injury following a motor vehicle accident with a negligent police officer, the fact is that accident victims should be compensated for damages. An experienced and aggressive motor vehicle accident attorney may be able to help you seek justice.