Injured in a Car Accident with a Police Car? Now What?
You just got involved in an accident with a police car. Now what? If you are like most people, you may be nervous, scared, and uncertain of what to do. You may be worried about going to jail, and on top of all that worry, you may also be injured. When this occurs, it is important to know what to do and where to turn for help.
Accidents happen, and hitting a police car isn’t the end of the world. Even though you may be worried and scared, it is important to remain calm and treat this accident like you would any other. There are steps you can take to protect yourself after an accident with a police car. If you are injured or if you believe that the officer was to blame for the crash, it is even more important to know what to do.
If you or someone you love is injured in a car accident with a police car in Arkansas, you need to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas car accident lawyers know that injured accident victims don’t have much time when filing a claim against a government entity. That’s why you must act quickly! Fill out a free contact request form or simply dial (800) 767-4815 to learn more.
How is Hitting a Cop Car Different from Hitting a Regular Car?
Police officers are skilled and trained to drive swiftly and safely through traffic to respond to emergencies. However, sometimes police officers drive distracted or recklessly as well. All too often, they find themselves involved in an accident with another driver.
Researchers at the University of Washington found that more than 300 fatalities every year were attributed to police car accidents. These accidents could have been prevented with extra care and caution. When they are involved in car accidents, police officers are not exempt from personal liability.
Hitting a police car or being involved in an accident with a police car is a little different from hitting another vehicle. For starters, government officials often have sovereign immunity. This means that they are exempt from certain types of personal injury lawsuits. However, this sovereign immunity is not absolute, and police officers may be found liable for an accident and the injuries they caused.
In Arkansas, the state waives sovereign immunity when the police officer’s actions were illegal or if they willfully disregarded the safety of the public. All public officials are required to carry the minimum amounts of motor vehicle liability coverage. After a car accident, all state officials and police officers are held liable for up to the minimum limits.
What to Do After an Accident with a Police Car?
If you have been involved in a car accident with a police car, it is important to know what to do to protect yourself and your future.
- Remain calm – You will not be arrested for getting into an accident. Unless you are driving intoxicated or breaking the law, you are not going to be arrested simply for hitting a police car.
- Contact the police – If you are involved in a car accident with a police car, it is likely that the police officer will radio for help. It is faster for the officer to notify emergency personnel and police to the accident scene. If the officer is injured, however, it is important for you to call 911.
- Turn on emergency lights – Turn on your hazard lights if you are able to alert other drivers that you are in trouble. This will help prevent other drivers from getting into accidents around you.
- Seek medical help – Even if you believe you are uninjured, it is important to seek medical help. Some injuries can take hours or days to become apparent.
- Gather evidence – If you are able, snap pictures of the accident scene and any damage to your vehicles. Be sure to take pictures of any information that could prove to be useful when establishing liability. Examples include overgrown shrubs or missing stop signs.
- Exchange information – Make sure you get the police officer’s information, as well as any other eyewitness information. This will be necessary when filing a claim.
- Contact an attorney – These accidents are considerably more complex than other car accidents. They involve sovereign immunity and government property. As such, it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side from the very start.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our car accident attorneys fight aggressively for your future and will make sure you don’t miss any critical deadlines for filing a claim. However, you must act quickly. Time is critical after an accident with a police car.