Car Accident Attorney U.: Police Immunity

Police Are Sometimes Immune from Suit

Car Accident Attorney U: Police Sometimes Immune from Suit

You are seeing a car accident attorney. You were a pedestrian struck by a speeding police car. Therefore, you suffered severe injuries. Accordingly, you would like to be compensated. Can the car accident attorney help you?

According to a recent court decision, the answer is “probably not.”

In the case, a man named Peter attended a baseball game in Newark. He took a bus back to East Rutherford. Peter got off of the bus. He then started to cross Hackensack Street.

Police Are Sometimes Immune from Suit

About that time, East Rutherford Police Officer Mike received a medical emergency call. Mike turned on his siren and emergency lights. Mike then turned left onto Hackensack Street.

You probably can guess what happened next. Mike’s police car ran over Peter’s foot. Peter’s foot was broken. Afterward, Peter’s foot appeared to be healing. Then Peter found out that he was suffering from deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially life-threatening condition. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. Usually, it happens in a leg. Deep vein thrombosis can cause pain or swelling.  But it can also take place without symptoms.

Crash Victim Sues Police

Peter hired a car accident attorney. The lawyer sued Officer Mike, East Rutherford, and the East Rutherford Police Department. But a judge dismissed the case.

Peter appealed. The appeals court agreed with the judge. Under New Jersey law, a “public employee is not liable if he acts in good faith in the execution or enforcement of any law.” The judges ruled that responding to a medical emergency is the equivalent of law enforcement. Therefore, Officer Mike wasn’t responsible.

But what about the municipality and police department? New Jersey law states that a “public entity is not liable for … an act … of a public employee where the public employee is not liable.”

Thus, Peter was out of luck.

If a Police Car Injures You, Don’t Assume You Have No Case

Rather, realize that there are exceptions to almost every legal rule. Consult a qualified car accident attorney immediately. There is a 90-day deadline to take action when the government is accused of negligence. Only rarely can that deadline be extended.

You can read the actual appeals court decision on this case here.


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