Can I Sue a Police Officer for Causing a Car Accident In Arizona?
By: Scottsdale Injury Lawyers LLC
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Can I Sue a Police Officer for Causing a Car Accident In Arizona?
People are often confused as to whether or not they can sue police officers for causing them injuries in a car accident. The answer to this is yes. A person may sue a police officer for causing a car accident and related injuries.
Police officers are held to the same standard as regular civilians. If the officer caused the car accident and was negligent, the City or the police department will be responsible for any resulting injuries and vehicle damage. To prove negligence, you must show that a person owed a duty, that a person breached that duty and that you suffered damages as a direct result of that breach.
In a car accident with a police officer, you would need to show that the police officer breached a duty owed to you and that you were injured as a result. The duty could simply be that the officer was required to pay attention while driving to avoid causing injuries to others. The duty could also be that the officer had a duty to follow traffic rules like the speed limit and yielding the right of way. Just like anyone else, if the police officer breaches a duty and causes damages, you are entitled to a recovery.
How Long Do I have to Sue the Police for My Injuries if They Caused a Car Accident?
You have one year to sue a police officer for causing injuries related to a car accident. However, before you can sue the police you have to give notice of your claim. You only have 180 days to do this under Arizona law. If you fail to give notice of your claim, you will be barred from suing the police for your injuries.
As a result, there are essentially two different time limits. The first is 180 days by which you must submit the notice of claim to the proper entity. This is set forth in Arizona Revised Statute § 12-821.01(A). For a police department, this would likely be the City. The second is one year by which you must file a lawsuit. This is set forth in Arizona Revised Statute § 12-821.
However, you are not allowed to file the lawsuit after giving notice of the claim until it is denied by the entity or City. If the entity or City accepts the claim and pays you a fair amount, there would be no need to file a lawsuit. However, this seldom happens. Claims are usually denied. You can then file a lawsuit after receiving notice of the denial. If you do not receive notice of the denial in writing after sixty days of presenting the notice of claim, the claim is considered denied by operation of law. You can then also file a lawsuit.
A Notice of Claim Must Be Presented to the Correct Entity Before You Can Sue the Police
As discussed above, you must submit a notice of claim to the correct entity before you can sue. However, there are a lot of traps involving how the notice of claim is presented and what it must contain. There is also some debate as to if you need to serve the notice of claim on the actual individual (the police officer) or if serving it on the entity (such as the City) is enough.
…there are a lot of traps involving how the notice of claim is presented and what it must contain.
To make things more complicated, there are certain requirements that the notice of claim must contain. For example, if you fail to put the amount of damages claimed, the notice of claim may be deemed defective. You will have then lost your right to sue. There are other requirements for the notice of claim that need to be closely followed and included.
Here is the notice of claim form for the City of Phoenix.
Here is the notice of claim form for the City of Scottsdale.
Since submitting a proper notice of claim form is such an important step, it makes sense to consult with an attorney before doing so. The experienced car accident attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers can assist you with this process. If you hire our firm to handle your car accident case, we will file a notice of claim on your behalf and you will not have to worry about it.
What Happens if the Police Officer Does Not Tell the Truth and Claims I Caused the Car Accident?
Unfortunately, police officers often do not admit that they are at fault for causing a car accident. Even worse, they may even lie and claim that you caused it when you did not. Like any employee, police officers get in trouble with their employer when they cause car accidents. The only difference is that their employers are police departments.
A car accident caused by a police officer can result in that police officer being reprimanded, suspended and even demoted. As such, police officers have a huge incentive to not admit they were at fault and to lie about the crash. If this happens to you and you were seriously injured, it is important that you consult with a skilled car accident attorney.
If the police officer has lied about the crash, this does not mean you cannot recover. However, it will make it much harder to do so. You will need an attorney on your side to prove your case.
Contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers if You Were in Car Accident With a Police Officer
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident with a police officer in Scottsdale or anywhere across Arizona, contact our law firm today. We only earn a fee if we recover for you and a consultation is free. Our skilled lawyers regularly handle complicated personal injury and car accident cases. We have a proven track records of success and results. We have experience representing individuals against police officers. We can help you recover your damages and get the compensation you deserve. Contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers today.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Previously Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.