While police officers are sworn to protect the citizens they serve, they can sometimes act negligently and harm others. Car accidents involving law enforcement officers can be particularly intimidating and complex, and many victims may incorrectly assume that they have no path to legal recourse. However, it’s important to remember that your rights and responsibilities as a civilian are still protected under the law. If the officer acted carelessly or recklessly, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident with a police officer, an experienced attorney can help you pursue justice. The knowledgeable attorneys at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis are dedicated to helping their clients stand up to government agencies so they can secure the compensation they deserve. We understand how challenging healing from a car accident can be and will handle every detail of your claim as we fight for you.
How to File a Claim if a Police Officer Hit You
Because a police car is a government vehicle, you will need to file a claim with the local government to recover compensation. Filing a claim against a government entity comes with unique challenges. Many states have adopted sovereign immunity, meaning government employees cannot be held liable for accidents they cause. While Florida follows this law, they waive this immunity for many personal injury claims, including car accidents.
You must act quickly to file a claim against a government agency. According to the Florida State Department of Financial Services, you must file a claim within two years of the accident. While this may seem like plenty of time to pursue a claim, many municipalities have even tighter deadlines, from 30 to 180 days. When you partner with one of our experienced attorneys, we can begin investigating your case immediately to comply with these stringent filing deadlines.
Additionally, Florida caps damages accident victims can recover in government claims. Those filing a claim can collect a maximum of $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per occurrence. Your attorney can advise you on how these damage caps apply to your case.
When Are Police Officers Exempt From Liability?
Most states, including Florida, allow traffic law exemptions for emergency vehicles, including police cars, in situations where lives are at stake. A police officer may not be held liable for your accident if it occurred under the following circumstances:
- Responding to an emergency
- In pursuit of a criminal suspect
- Performing a non-emergency motorcade escort
- Displaying emergency lights and sirens
However, it is essential to understand that police officers are not permitted to violate laws without a valid reason. If a police officer drives recklessly when there is no emergency or causes a collision due to distracted driving, they can be held responsible for any resulting damages through a personal injury claim. Further, even in situations where there is an emergency, if the officer is not following their own internal rules and/or regulations, that may be held responinsible for the collision and the resulting injuries.
Speak With a First Class Car Accident Attorney at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis
At Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience helping accident victims hold negligent parties accountable for the losses they have endured. We understand the ins and outs of filing claims against government agencies and will use our extensive experience and expertise to fight for a favorable outcome on your behalf. When you retain one of our skilled attorneys, you can trust us to do everything in our power to protect your rights and interests.