Even the most diligent and alert police officer can become distracted while driving, or make a mistake that leads to a wreck. Police cars are filled with GPS devices, scanners, and laptops. Officers are also required to remain in constant communication with police dispatch. Any of these devices or activities can distract the officer when they are behind the wheel.
When a car accident occurs due to negligence, police officers can be held liable for injuries and damages like any other driver. Even though they are a city, state, or federal employee, they are bound by the same rules of the road that civilian drivers are expected to follow. Even in the case of a high-speed police chase, law enforcement officials are expected to keep public safety as their top priority.
Who is at Fault in an Accident Involving a Police Car?
Determining fault and liability in an accident with a police car can get tricky. If an officer is negligent or careless and an accident occurs, they may generally be held liable for their negligence. Police officers have the benefit of strong legal teams, personal relationships with government officials and judges, and the unwavering support of other police officers. It can be overwhelming for an average citizen to fight the system if the legal team for the police officer is denying liability.
A consultation with an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer can help victims injured in an accident with a police car seek justice and compensation for their property damage and injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney with knowledge of state and local laws will be able to provide a strong case for their client. Evidence from the accident is crucial to proving who is liable for damages.
What to Do After a Police-Involved Accident
The first thing that anyone involved in a car accident should do is assess injuries and summons emergency medical personnel, if necessary. After all parties are stable, the wreck should be handled the same way any other accident would be handled. Police should be called to the accident scene so that an official police report can be filed by an objective party.
Pictures are hard to dispute, so photographs of the accident scene and the surrounding road conditions should be taken. The position of the cars, any skid marks on the road, traffic lights, stop signs, and obstacles or debris on the roadway should be recorded. Medical records, property damage estimates, witness testimony, and personal accounts from those involved are also pertinent.
Whenever an accident involves injuries, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer. Time is of the essence. It is important to file your claim with your insurance company and with the police department as soon as possible. Delays are common when claims involve government officials. As insurance companies battle among themselves, the car accident lawyer can ensure that the victim’s legal rights and best interests are protected.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Those Injured in Accidents Involving Police Cars
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are located throughout South Carolina, allowing us to serve clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.