Driving is the most dangerous activity people perform on a daily basis. Thousands of car accidents happen all over the United States every year injuring and killing people. Hardee County also has a number of accidents considering its positioning between the Tampa and Miami metro areas. Inevitably, there are going to be times when police cars are involved in these accidents.
Police officers often have to use their vehicles to respond to crimes in progress at high speeds. This can create situations where other drivers have to perform evasive maneuvers to get out of their way. Some officers even abuse the fact that their vehicles are equipped with emergency lights to try to navigate through traffic quickly, even when there are no emergencies in progress. Because of the dangerous nature of their job and the necessity of responding quickly, many motorists and pedestrians are struck by police vehicles and sustain injuries or even die.
Fatal police crash in Hardee on SR-66
An incident in Hardee County revealed just how dangerous the roads can become for police officers. Two Hardee County Sheriff’s Deputies had collided head on while making preparations for Hurricane Irma. They were driving in opposite directions on State Road 66 at Old Crewsville Road when they struck each other. It was unknown whether storm conditions or worsening weather were factors in the accident. Both drivers died on impact as a result of the collision.
Situations such as this show that officers are only human, and they are just as vulnerable to the dangers of the road as the rest of us. They can also make mistakes while driving.
The elements of an automobile accident case
All lawsuits involving a car accidents are fundamentally similar whether civilian drivers or the police are involved. Your attorney can file a negligence lawsuit against the department and individual officer, which claims that improper operation of the vehicle caused injuries to you. This is the same as the process for most personal injury lawsuits. However, there are some notable differences because government entities may be given a certain level of immunity for performing their core functions, but this does not include reckless behavior. One common example is that police are given more discretion when responding to a legitimate emergency, however this discretion usually does not extend to carelessly running red lights or driving on the wrong side of the road. They still have to exercise some level of reasonable care while driving.
Insurance claims are also a different process when the police are involved. This is because the local government is usually the entity that has the relevant insurance policy rather than the individual officer. Cities and counties will usually have more significant coverage than an individual motorist.
Even in a case like the one reported above, the surviving family members of the police officers who died may still make a claim for damages against their department if it is determined that they should not have been driving given the weather conditions. The department may have been negligent by having them work through the hurricane.
Contact a lawyer in Hardee County
Lawyers who are licensed in the state of Florida and practice in Hardee County are available to speak with you about any incidents involving the police. If their actions have caused injuries to you, it may be possible to collect monetary damages from their department.