Liability in Accidents Involving Police Vehicles
Explains liability issues in car accidents involving police vehicles
SummaryIn general, the privilege of an operator of a police vehicle to ignore state traffic regulations depends upon a statute or an ordinance, which frequently requires that before the exemption is applicable the vehicle must be on an emergency mission or must be operated on official business. In a number of states, by law, officers under certain conditions enjoy special privileges on the highways. Under some of these regulatory provisions, police vehicles, under certain circumstances, are given the right of way over other vehicles provided certain requirements are met. Under other regulatory provisions, police vehicles, instead of or in addition to being granted the right of way, are exempt, under certain conditions, from obeying certain traffic regulations, such as stopping at red lights or driving within a certain fixed maximum speed. In other states, police officers enjoy special privileges on the highways only in emergency situations.
Who Can Be Held Responsible After a Crash with a Police Vehicle?There are many different ways to determine liability for a Florida crash. In most cases, the party at fault is the one who had a duty of care to the person injured and who’s found to be guilty of violating that duty. There are generally two ways to obtain compensation for your damages against law enforcement after an accident with a police vehicle. The first method involves filing a negligence suit. The first is, like any suit, simple negligence. The problem is the same suing the State of Florida is not the same as making a claim against a person or a private corporation. Traditionally, governments have prevented people from suing them, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a concept that developed hundreds of years ago in England. Essentially, sovereign immunity kept people from making claims against the king, his representatives, or the government. While this concept transferred over to the U.S., many states in America allow people to sue them for damages under certain circumstances. In Florida, a person who is injured by the government or a government employee may file an injury claim if the injury was caused by the negligence or wrongful act or omission of the government, the loss can be compensated with money damages, and the circumstances are such that the negligent party would have been liable as a private party. However, the statute lists certain limitations on an injured parties’ ability to sue. The second option for injured victims is to sue under what is referred to as “Section 1983,” a federal statute that provides a private right of action to citizens whose civil rights are violated by government agencies. However, liability under that statute requires more than simple negligence and you will have to file in federal court.