nypd car at manhattan intersection

Can I Sue The NYPD For Causing A Car Accident?

Everyone understands that being a police officer is a tough job. They’re constantly receiving emergency calls and forced to respond in a timely manner. While speeding and weaving through traffic may be necessary for these situations, but sometimes, police officers are unnecessarily reckless and end up injuring other motorists or pedestrians. If a police officer causes a car accident and a civilian suffers serious injuries and related damages like medical bills, time away from work, and permanent disabilities, who can be held liable for these damages?

Pedestrian Struck By NYPD Plans To Sue City

To better understand your legal options after an accident with an on-duty NYPD officer, consider the story of Charles Gunkel. This 62-year-old graphic designer was walking with his dog across Avenue C toward E. 20th on October 31, 2017, when he was slammed into by a 2017 Dodge SUV being driven by an NYPD detective.

Gunkel was seriously injured, and months later is still walking with a cane and going to physical therapy five days per week for treatment of back problems, a fractured foot, and a broken toe. He also hasn’t returned to work since the accident.

After reading a police report which blamed him for the accident, he’s decided to file a notice of claim seeking $5 million from the city. The police report said that the SUV was stopped in traffic and that Gunkel walked into it, which he and his lawyer say is a lie.

When Can The Police Be Held Liable For Causing An Accident?

Filing a lawsuit against the NYPD is complicated – especially in car accident cases. Because of the demanding and dangerous nature of police work, officers are permitted to drive in ways civilians cannot. If an officer is speeding with his sirens and lights on while responding to an emergency call, motorists have a responsibility to get out of the way so that the officer can get to where he needs to be. But some officers abuse this power and drive aggressively even when it’s not necessary.

In Gunkel’s case, he wasn’t planning to file a lawsuit until he realized that the officer had lied about the accident. He claims he had a green light while crossing the intersection, and his lawyer says surveillance video backs this up. Why would this officer feel the need to lie if he hadn’t done anything wrong in the accident?

What Damages Could I Recover In A Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you believe a police officer’s negligence is to blame for causing your accident and injuries, you could recover all of the same damages as other car accident lawsuits. This could include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

In order to determine if you have a strong case for a lawsuit, you’ll need to discuss the details of your accident with an experienced injury lawyer. You can learn more about your legal options today by speaking with one of our New York City personal injury lawyers – just get in touch with us today for a free consultation.