Filing a Claim Over a Car Crash Involving a Police Car
December 7, 2020
Arizona is an at-fault state for car accident claims, which means the driver who is found to be at fault for a crash is liable for the damages caused. Victims would file a claim against the other driver and/or his or her car insurance company.
However, what if you believe the at-fault driver was a police officer, and he or she was in a police car during the accident? Can you still file a claim? Who would you file the claim against?
These types of claims are complicated, mainly because police officers have immunity from many types of personal injury claims. You also have much less time to file a claim than you would if the at-fault driver was an ordinary person and not a police officer.
If you have any questions, the attorneys at Phillips Law Group are here to help. We have extensive knowledge of Arizona laws and have obtained millions in compensation for car crash victims.
Arizona Tort Claims Act
This law sets the rules for filing claims against the state government, or a police officer or other entity operating under the state government’s authority.
While there are a lot of specifics, the general rule is you may be able to file a claim against a government entity, like a police officer, if he or she would have been held liable if he or she were acting privately.
The Tort Claims Act lists several situations where a government employee cannot be held liable unless it can be proven he or she was acting intentionally or with gross negligence. One of those situations is a car accident caused by the victim’s aggressive, reckless or wrong way driving. That may mean you could be partially to blame, but if the officer was also grossly negligent, you may still have grounds for a claim.
However, this does not address situations where the officer is entirely at fault for a car crash. Presumably, if the officer is to blame, you may have grounds for a claim for compensation.
What Does Gross Negligence Mean?
There is no specific definition for gross negligence, which means there is room for interpretation. However, generally gross negligence means an extreme form of carelessness, like drunk driving. If you could prove the officer was traveling at an unsafe speed and was not involved in a criminal pursuit or was not trying to get to a crime scene, that might constitute gross negligence.
Interpreting and applying state laws to a car crash claim can be very difficult if you do not have experience with it. Phillips Law Group’s auto accident lawyers in Phoenix have helped numerous car crash victims seek compensation and have extensive legal knowledge of these claims.
Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation.
Deadline for Filing a Claim
Insurance companies generally have deadlines for filing claims. However, the deadline for a claim against a police officer is different because it is a claim against the government.
You have 180 days from the date of the injury to provide notice of the claim to the party responsible for harm. The notice must include a description of what happened, your injuries, the amount of money you are seeking, and evidence to support your allegations.
Once the notice is provided, the agency or entity has 60 days to respond. If you do not receive a response within 60 days, you can consider the claim denied. However, you are still allowed to file a lawsuit in state court.
How Do Accidents with Police Cars Happen?
One of the most common reasons for innocent bystanders to be involved in a crash with a police car is a police pursuit of a criminal suspect. For example, a police officer could hit a car while pursuing someone who was fleeing arrest or someone who just committed a crime, such as a robbery.
Police officers could also be negligent while driving and crash into someone the same way another driver may get into an accident.
A police car could be involved in a chain reaction crash, such as a rear-end crash. It is possible the officer may bear some responsibility for what happened.
Need Help After a Car Crash? Call Phillips Law Group Today
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