Most people know the steps to take following a car accident. You exchange information with the other driver, and the insurance companies usually take it from there. However, when a government employee, such as a police officer, is the other driver, the situation can be more complicated. Your best course of action is to partner with the car accident attorneys at McCullough & Leboff, P.A. Our attorneys can guide you through the claims process and answer any legal questions you may have.
If the police officer is acting within their work scope, such as chasing a subject, you cannot file a claim against them for hitting your vehicle. Instead, you’d be able to file a lawsuit against their employer, which is likely the municipality, borough, or city.
There are very few situations where you can show that the police officer was working outside their usual scope. However, if they are being extraordinarily negligent or using a cop car for personal reasons, you can file a claim against them rather than their employer.
Filing a claim against a government agency comes with its own set of challenges. Many states adopted sovereign immunity, which essentially means employees are not liable for accidents they cause. Florida follows this law, but you may still file a claim against a government agency if you were in a car accident.
Remember that you have three years to file a claim against the government in Florida. However, most government agencies give an even more limited window, ranging from 30 to 180 days. To be safe, you should file a lawsuit as soon as possible. Additionally, you should file the claim with the local government. So, if a cop in Davie, Florida, hits you, you should file the lawsuit with the municipality or Broward County.
When filing your notice of claim, you’ll have to present a certain amount of damages, which acts as a starting point for negotiations. The number should include medical bills, property damage, and other accident-related expenses. It’s vital to be reasonable when determining your quote, as going too high will make it seem less credible. Conversely, going too low will bar you from asking for more later if your injuries or damages are more severe.
The damage to your car will serve as proof of where the cop hit your vehicle, but to prove they were at fault, you will need video evidence. This could be in the form of surveillance cameras or a dashcam. All cop cars have a dashcam, and laws require them to be on when police are on duty, so there should be a video of the crash.
You can also speak to any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Make sure to obtain their contact information just in case your attorney needs them to testify in court.
The complexity of filing a claim against a government agency is why we always recommend that accident victims consult with an attorney. They can guide you through the process and help determine an appropriate number to present. Additionally, they can represent you throughout negotiations.
In Florida, the car accident attorneys at McCullough & Leboff are the top choice for legal representation. With nearly 50 years of combined experience, Attorneys Scott McCullough and Beth Leboff use their expertise to earn you a fair settlement.
Take charge of your situation by calling us or completing an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.