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Accidents Caused by Police in Pennsylvania

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Police officers are serve our communities and help make them safer, but police officers are also human, so they make errors. There are times when members of the general public are harmed by those errors. Some of those errors involve driving and injuring or even killing people in motor vehicle accidents.

Contact us right away after being injured or losing a family member in any accident involving a police car or other emergency vehicle anywhere in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. We have a long history of obtaining the maximum amount of compensation available to our valued clients.

Two Recent Pennsylvania Occurrences

Last week in Sinking Spring, two people were killed and three others were injured when a state trooper was responding to a call of an officer allegedly being assaulted. Three vehicles were involved. The police car reportedly hit one of the vehicles and pushed it into the third vehicle. The three people who were hospitalized include the driver of the police car. Other than the fact that the police car hit another vehicle, there’s no statement of exactly how the crash occurred. Also, in late May of 2018, a 62-year-old motorcyclist was killed by a Harrisburg police officer who was driving an unmarked car in a violent collision.

Police Pursuit Collisions

In neither of the above cases was an officer in pursuit of a vehicle. If they were, 75 P.S. section 6342 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes would apply. It sets strict policies and complicated considerations for when a police officer is in pursuit of another vehicle. Under both cases, the law of negligence appears to apply.

Sovereign and Governmental Immunity

In the crash involving the Pennsylvania State Police trooper, Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act applies. It allows for an injured person or the family of a decedent in a wrongful death case to bring a claim or lawsuit involving the operation of a state motor vehicle by an agent of the state. The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act applies to municipalities. It also allows for a claim or lawsuit under such circumstances, but both statutes carry relatively low damages caps. Some of the other conditions that the statute covers follow:

  • Care of traffic controls.
  • Negligent maintenance of roadways
  • Sufficient street lighting.
  • Dangerous sidewalks.

Contact us to hear more about Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act.

You must act quickly. Here’s why:

Every state has a statute of limitations that sets a time limit on when a personal injury or wrongful death case must be filed. The general rule in Pennsylvania is that the plaintiff must file that lawsuit within two years of the date of accident or death. This statute is strictly interpreted, and there are few exceptions to it. Failure to file an injury or wrongful death case within the time prescribed by the statute of limitations can result in a case being dismissed forever.

However…  Just because there is a two year statute of limitations on personal injury or wrongful death cases in Pennsylvania doesn’t mean that you can wait 18 months to file your lawsuit. There’s a prerequisite to that filing, and that involves notice of a claim. Pursuant to 42 P.S. section 5522, notice of a plaintiff’s intention to make a claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be made within six months of the date that the cause of action accrued. Most people don’t realize that a notice requirement even exists. Properly filing notice with the correct agency is a complicated process. Notices that are statutorily insufficient or late are likely to have a perfectly valid personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit dismissed forever.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney

Any personal injury claim or lawsuit is complex. You’ll want to get a free consultation with us as soon as possible after being injured in an accident.

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