Can You File a Claim for a Crash Involving a Police Car?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on May 14, 2021 and updated on April 26, 2023.

police car with sirens flashingThousands of innocent bystanders have been injured by police cars that were chasing fleeing suspects or people who violated traffic laws. Victims of these crashes may have questions about seeking compensation, which is why meeting with a licensed attorney can be an important step.

The experienced Maryland auto accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl offer a free legal consultation to crash victims. We have secured millions on behalf of victims injured in a wide variety of crashes. We have extensive knowledge of state laws and the process of seeking car insurance compensation.

When do Innocent Bystanders Get Injured by Police Cars?

The most common scenario where an innocent bystander could get hurt by a police car is during the pursuit of a criminal suspect, such as during a high-speed chase. Pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles could get hit by a police car that was pursuing the driver of a vehicle who just robbed a business or decided to flee arrest.

Despite the risks of high-speed chases, many police departments still allow officers to make their own judgments about when to chase another vehicle. The Justice Department has called police car chases the most dangerous of any ordinary police activity.

Police chases for minor infractions, such as driving with headlights off or making an illegal U-turn, are another way that patrol cars may cause a crash.

Sometimes police officers may hit other cars by accident while out on patrol. For example, a police officer could rear-end another vehicle or sideswipe a vehicle in the adjacent lane.

Filing a Claim for Compensation

Crashes during high-speed police chases could result in severe injuries that require expensive medical treatment.

In these situations, crash victims may greatly benefit from representation by an experienced attorney. He or she may be able to help you pursue compensation beyond the limits of your policy. For example, your lawyer may be able to file a claim against the police department or the appropriate government entity that may bear liability for your damages.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Entity

Maryland’s tort claims act says injured persons may have the right to file claims against the government after car crashes that result in death or property damage.

It is important to note you have just one year from the date of the crash to notify the entity you are filing a claim against. If you do not provide notice of the claim before the deadline, you may lose the right to pursue compensation from the government. You may still be able to file a lawsuit, but the other party could ask the court for a dismissal and they might get it.

You should strongly consider seeking an attorney’s help after a crash with a police car, as an attorney can determine if you may have a case and manage the legal process on your behalf.

If you pursue a case, you can be sure the government entity will look for some way to dispute the validity of your claim. For example, they may assert the officer was using due care and the crash was an accident that happened while the officer was responding to an emergency. The government entity may assert the victim could have avoided the crash because the officer had the siren on and lights flashing.

For those reasons and others, it is important to hire a lawyer with extensive resources who knows how to thoroughly investigate crashes to find evidence of negligence. You may also greatly benefit from having an attorney if the other party wants to negotiate with you. An experienced attorney should have a lot of experience negotiating claims and determining what a fair offer looks like.

We Are Here to Assist Crash Victims

While there are no guarantees in the legal process, research has shown that crash victims who hire attorneys often obtain more compensation compared to those who do not.

The attorney you choose to represent you is one of the most important decisions you can make after a crash. Our firm has more than three decades of experience helping crash victims and we have established a track record of success.

There are no upfront fees or legal obligations for our services. Calling us to learn how we may be able to assist you is risk-free.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call 410-907-3957.