Imagine this scenario. You’re driving along, following all the rules of the road, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a car crashes into you. You regain consciousness realizing that you’ve been in an accident. Your head hurts and you feel a little sick. How did this happen? You were at an intersection you happen to know like the back of your hand. After all, it’s only blocks from home. There’s a stop sign on the street and a right-of-way for the road you were driving on. The car that hit you must have run the stop sign.
When you open your car door and step out to survey the wreckage you finally get a closer look at the car that hit you. Your heart sinks. It’s a police car.
Under any other circumstance, this accident would seem like an easy open and shut case. The other driver ran the red light and is therefore responsible. If you suffer injuries, require medical care for your concussion, or have to miss work or seek rehabilitation services, surely the other driver should have to pay for your personal injuries. Yet, when it comes to fighting the police in civil court, the process is not so simple.
Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, the state, and state employees (that is, the police) are immune from lawsuits unless they consent to be sued. According to Cornell University Law School, while there are more cases where the government will consent to a suit—for instance when a government medical facility commits medical malpractice errors, or when the police or fire department get into accidents—the process can often be far more complex than suing an ordinary civilian. Suing the government is complex business and must be done within the timeframe stipulated by the statute of limitations. Finding a skilled personal injury lawyer in Meridian or Boise Idaho is a good idea if you’re seeking damages for an injury, but it is especially important if you find yourself in the situation of having to seek compensation from the government.
And what if the police officer who was driving had been committing some other form of wrongdoing, such as, say, drinking and driving?
According to an article in Magic Valley, only the governor has the authority to initiate an investigation. For an ordinary civilian, getting the governor to look into the circumstances surrounding a car accident might not be so easy. According to Magic Valley news, it can be very difficult to initiate an investigation when the Legislature isn’t in session. There are currently three lawsuits in process against Boise state police. Unfortunately, given the formality of the procedures required to look into police wrongdoing, in many cases, lawsuits are sometimes the only means to hold wayward officers accountable.
Idaho is looking into better means of holding officers liable when they fail to follow the law or when they prove negligent. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Negligence takes place, and currently, the best way to seek justice following a car accident is to initiate a lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer working on your side. The Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen are personal injury lawyers experienced in handling a range of accident cases.