Police officers are tasked with upholding public safety, but like anyone else, they are human. They can become distracted while driving, or make errors on the road that result in an accident. They have significantly more leeway when engaged in an emergency situation with their lights flashing, but still are expected to maintain public safety.
The question, then, becomes who is at fault when a police car is involved in an accident.
Liability can be difficult to determine when emergency vehicles are involved. If the officer themselves was negligent or careless, they could be held personally liable for their negligence.
Keep in mind police officers are generally backed by strong legal teams and relationships with local government officials, plus strong unions and the support of their fellow officers. If the police officer denies liability in the case, it could be a difficult legal battle to prove that liability.
There are other circumstances in which the police officer might have been liable for the accident, but their conduct was not particularly egregious to the point where they themselves would be held liable. Instead, under the legal principle of vicarious liability, their employer (usually a municipality) would be held liable instead. This would mean any personal injury claim filed by a victim in the accident would list a city, county or other municipality as the defendant, rather than the officer specifically.
Ultimately it is in your best interest to work with an attorney in such a case. An experienced lawyer will understand how to approach your case and maximize your chances of compensation.
For more information, contact a trusted Sarasota, FL accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.