Request Free Consultation
Birmingham personal injury attorneys at Drake Injury Lawyers

What Happens If a Police Car Hits Your Car

Posted on December 1, 2023

Table of Contents

When a police car is involved in a collision, the aftermath can be complex and overwhelming.

Every day, over 15,000 car accidents occur in the U.S., and those involving police vehicles present unique challenges.

This guide aims to demystify the process and provide clear, actionable advice for those affected by such an incident.

Factoid About Police Car Accidents

Police Car AccidentsSignificant concern in the US
Fault DeterminationBased on officer negligence or emergency exemption
Compensation for DamagesCovers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering
Wrongful Death ClaimsFiled by victim’s family in fatal accidents
Compensation AvenuesInsurance claims and civil lawsuits
Role of Auto InsuranceCrucial but with coverage limitations
Need for Legal AssistanceOften necessary due to complex legal scenarios
Officer Fatalities (2011-2020)454 officers died in vehicle-related incidents

Establishing Fault in Police Car Accidents

Determining who is at fault in a collision involving a police car is crucial. Fault, in legal terms, refers to the party responsible for the accident.

In typical car accidents, fault is often assigned to the driver who acted negligently—perhaps by speeding or failing to adhere to traffic laws.

However, when a police car is involved, the situation becomes more nuanced.Police car accidents frequently involve scenarios like speeding above the limit, running red lights, or illegal U-turns.

If you’re involved in such an accident, it’s essential to understand that the officer’s actions leading up to the crash play a significant role in determining fault.

When Police Officers are Exempt from Traffic Laws

There are circumstances where police officers are legally allowed to break traffic laws. This exemption typically applies during emergencies, such as responding to a crime scene or pursuing a suspect.

In these cases, officers might speed or perform other maneuvers that would normally be illegal. However, this exemption doesn’t grant blanket immunity.

An officer driving recklessly without a valid emergency reason can still be held liable for any resulting accidents. Understanding these nuances is key in assessing fault in accidents involving police vehicles.

After a collision with a police car, understanding your legal rights and the potential for compensation is crucial.

Personal injury laws in the United States provide avenues for individuals to seek damages for losses incurred due to someone else’s negligence.

This section delves into the types of damages you can claim and the process for doing so.

When involved in an accident with a police car, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation such as:

  1. Coverage for medical bills
  2. Lost wages due to inability to work
  3. Compensation for pain and suffering
  4. In more severe cases, claims can extend to lost earning capacity

The key is to establish the link between the accident and these losses, a process that can be complex and requires thorough documentation.

Wrongful Death Claims in Police Car Accidents

In the tragic event that a police car collision results in a fatality, the victim’s family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

This type of legal action seeks compensation for the losses related to the death of a loved one. Eligible claimants typically include the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents.

The damages in a wrongful death claim can cover a range of expenses and losses. These include:

  • Medical bills incurred before the death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of consortium

The emotional impact of such a loss is profound, and while no amount of money can replace a loved one, financial compensation can provide some relief in the face of such a tragedy.

Insurance Claims vs. Civil Lawsuits

When seeking compensation after a collision with a police car, you have two primary avenues, namely filing an insurance claim or pursuing a civil lawsuit.

Each path has its own set of procedures, benefits, and challenges. Understanding the difference between these two options is crucial for making an informed decision on how to proceed.

Filing an insurance claim typically involves your own auto insurance provider. This route is often faster and less complex than a lawsuit.

It can be particularly effective for covering immediate expenses like car repairs or medical bills.

However, insurance claims may not always cover the full extent of your losses, especially in cases of severe injury or wrongful death.

Role of Personal Auto Insurance in Police Car Accidents

Your personal auto insurance plays a significant role in the aftermath of an accident with a police car. Collision coverage, for instance, can help pay for repairs to your vehicle.

However, there are limitations to what insurance can cover, particularly regarding pain and suffering or long-term disability.

It’s also important to remember that dealing with insurance companies can sometimes be challenging. They might undervalue your claim or deny it altogether.

In such cases, having legal support can make a significant difference. An attorney can help negotiate with insurance companies, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your losses.

On the other hand, a civil lawsuit can be pursued if the insurance claim does not adequately cover your damages or if the police department’s actions were particularly negligent.

Lawsuits can be lengthy and complex, especially when involving government entities, but they may result in higher compensation, including punitive damages in some cases.

In the wake of an accident with a police car, seeking legal assistance can be a crucial step.

Even in seemingly straightforward cases, the complexities of law, especially when it involves government entities, can be daunting.

Legal professionals can offer invaluable support and guidance through this challenging process. The role of a lawyer in these situations is multifaceted.

They can help in understanding and interpreting traffic laws as they apply to your case, gathering and preserving evidence, and investigating the cause of the collision.

Importantly, they can also assist in determining whether the police officer involved acted negligently. This is crucial for establishing fault and pursuing compensation.

Navigating Government Agency Litigations

Litigating against government agencies, such as a police department, presents unique challenges. These entities often have strong legal defenses and are protected by various laws and regulations.

A lawyer with experience in such cases can help cut through the complexity and advocate effectively on your behalf.

Your attorney can also assist in calculating the total of your accident-related losses, ensuring that all potential damages are accounted for.

This includes tangible losses like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as intangible losses like pain and suffering.

Moreover, a lawyer will handle all communications with insurance companies and opposing legal teams. This is particularly beneficial as it allows you to focus on your recovery while your legal representative handles the often-stressful interactions with these entities.


As we reach the end of this guide, it’s important to recap the key points and offer some final thoughts. Dealing with the aftermath of a collision involving a police car can be a complex and challenging journey.

However, understanding your rights, the process of establishing fault, and the avenues available for seeking compensation can empower you to take the necessary steps towards resolution and recovery.

The journey following a police car collision involves several critical stages.

From determining fault and understanding legal exemptions for police officers, to navigating the intricacies of insurance claims and potential lawsuits, each step requires careful consideration.

In cases of wrongful death, the process becomes even more sensitive, necessitating a compassionate yet assertive approach.

The role of personal auto insurance and the decision between filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit are pivotal.

These decisions can significantly impact the outcome of your case and the compensation you may receive.

It’s crucial to weigh these options carefully, considering both the immediate and long-term implications of each. Seeking legal assistance can make a substantial difference in your case.

A lawyer can provide clarity, support, and expertise, especially when dealing with complex legal scenarios involving government entities.

They ensure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for your losses.

In conclusion, while the aftermath of an accident with a police car can be daunting, you are not alone.

Armed with the right information and support, you can effectively address the challenges and move towards a resolution.

Contact Drake Injury Lawyers for Assistance

If you’ve been involved in a collision with a police car and are facing the complexities of legal claims, Drake Injury Lawyers are here to help.

As experienced car accident attorneys, they understand the nuances of such cases and are dedicated to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

Don’t hesitate to reach out at (205) 679-5193 for expert guidance and support in navigating these challenging times.