Police officers save lives every day in New Jersey, but they are also human beings. Like all human beings, they make mistakes. A mistake behind the wheel can change someone’s life forever, and it does not matter whether the crash was caused by an average citizen or a police officer. A recent case in New Jersey shows that when a police officer causes a crash, you are fully within your rights to pursue legal action. Government agencies must be held accountable for the injuries they cause to citizens, and a car accident injury lawyer in New Jersey can help. 

City of Paterson Finally Agrees to Give $230,000 to Man Struck by Police Vehicle

City-of-Paterson-Pays-230K-to-Man-Struck-by-Police-VehicleIn April of 2024, it was reported that the City of Paterson had finally agreed to hand over a previously agreed-upon settlement to a man struck by a Paterson police officer back in 2019. The plaintiff was driving through an intersection when a police vehicle crashed into him, causing what he described as severe, permanent injuries. There were no further details of the incident in his complaint, but he claimed that he had the right of way. Based on the features of that specific intersection, the officer may have run a stop sign. 

The city denied any wrongdoing by the police officer, but they nonetheless agreed to provide the plaintiff with a settlement. For reasons unknown, the city then delayed for eight months – refusing to provide the man with the cash he needed for medical expenses, missed wages, and other damages. Finally, the plaintiff had no other choice but to file a motion with the court. 

Despite the fact that the city agreed to provide the settlement during negotiations, Council never actually “approved” the deal. In other words, this plaintiff was stuck in a state of limbo while his financial losses continued to pile up. Thankfully, a judge forced the city to make good on its promise, and the Council eventually voted to approve the settlement. 

Police Continue to Cause Crashes in Paterson

This is not the first time a police officer has been accused of causing a crash in Paterson, and it probably will not be the last. In 2022, an off-duty Paterson officer was suspended after causing a crash while intoxicated. He was off-duty at the time, and he was driving in a school zone. One person suffered serious injuries in that crash. In 2015, another off-duty officer in Paterson faced charges for a fatal hit-and-run. That crash killed a 23-year-old, and witnesses say the victim probably would have survived if the officer had stopped to offer assistance. 

Can You Sue Government Agencies for Causing Crashes in New Jersey?

Injured plaintiffs are fully within their rights to sue government agencies for crashes. Whether it is a USPS truck, an ambulance, or a police vehicle, the underlying government agency should be held accountable for any injuries in the event of a crash. In theory, “sovereign immunity” protects government agencies from injury lawsuits. In practice, police departments, city municipalities, and other government organizations all agree to settle injury claims with plaintiffs. 

That being said, the process of suing a municipality is not the same as filing a typical auto insurance claim in New Jersey. There is a completely different set of protocols, complete with distinct time limits and specific paperwork. You can still claim the same basic damages, however. A settlement may help you cover your missed wages, medical expenses, emotional distress, and anything else you were forced to endure. 

If you are serious about suing a government agency for causing your crash, it is important to work alongside a lawyer with the necessary experience. Search for a lawyer who has handled these kinds of claims in the past. An experienced car accident lawyer in New Jersey can hold police departments, municipalities, and other organizations accountable for the collateral damage they have caused. 

Contact a Car Accident Injury Lawyer in New Jersey

If you need help pursuing compensation for your car accident in New Jersey, contact a personal injury lawyer. Lependorf & Silverstein has been assisting injured plaintiffs like you for years, and we have secured millions for our clients. Although suing a government agency is possible after a car accident, the process is slightly more complex than a normal injury claim. As a result, it makes sense to work alongside our experienced, qualified car accident lawyers. Reach out today, book your consultation, and get started with an action plan.

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over thirty years.

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