If acop made an illegal u-turn and hit me truck, can I sue?

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If acop made an illegal u-turn and hit me truck, can I sue?

I was driving behind a cop who made a right turn into a driveway and made a u-turn w/out stopping. She hit the passenger side of my truck very hard. I was driving the speed limit (which is 55 mph) when she hit me. No official estimate yet, but their rough estimate was about $8,000. My 4 yr old daughter was with me. We both went to the ER after the accident. She has pain in the forearm and I have pain in my neck and shoulder. X-rays showed nothing was broken. She has a deep bruise and I have whiplash. My question is can I sue the cop or police department for negligence?

Asked on August 21, 2011 Iowa

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

On the police report, the insurance information for the police should be listed.  Before filing a lawsuit, you might need to file an administrative claim with the city where this accident occurred.  If you are required to file an administrative claim with the city against the police officer, don't miss the filing deadline or your subsequent lawsuit against the cop might be barred.  When the administrative claim is denied which is standard procedure, you can then proceed with your lawsuit.

When you have the insurance information for the police department, you can file your property damage claim.  Property damage is usually resolved early in the case.  You and your daughter also have personal injury claims.  These are separate from the property damage claim.  Your personal injury claim is separate from your daughter's.  When you and/or your daughter complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, obtain the medical bills, medical reports and your documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and your daughter's injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering for each of you.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  It would be premature to file a lawsuit (unless the statute of limitations is approaching) before completing medical treatment because you wouldn't know the total medical bills, wage loss, etc. 

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company for yourself and/or your daughter, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence.  You will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you and your daughter will lose your rights forever in the matter.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to sue on your daughter's behalf.  If both cases are settled, no lawsuit is filed, but if one or both cases is NOTsettled, you will need to file the lawsuit for negligence against the cop prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you and/or your daughter will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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