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Who is liable if a police officer hits my car?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Auto Accidents, Civil Rights

It may not be shocking that motor vehicle regulations differ for public entities like the police department. Police officers represent the municipality and usually this changes the laws that apply to them as public entity workers. But this is a complex issue because there may also be some personal liability for the police in the crash, at least to an extent.

When the municipality is responsible

According to the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, public entity workers such as police officers are immune from tort liability if the car accident happens while they are on duty. However, if there were sustained injuries because of the accident, you may be able to file for tort claims against the local government.

You may pursue a claim if you are able to provide medical evidence for any of the following:

  • The injuries you sustained involved a permanent loss of bodily function
  • The injuries you sustained resulted in permanent disfigurement or dismemberment
  • The medical expenses must also be equal to or higher than $3,600

For the injury to be considered permanent and debilitating, the evidence must be objective and tangible. You could only receive compensation if the injury impairs your actual ability to perform tasks with that specific body part. The court may consider pain and discomfort subjective and may not compensate for these damages.

When the police officer is responsible

In most situations, it will be almost impossible to prove that the police officer is liable for the damages you suffered. Although the state statute claims that nothing exonerates the police officer if the accident happened outside the scope of employment and if the car accident was due to their gross negligence. If a police officer behaves with wanton disregard for the civilians, then the officer and the entity are both liable for damages.