Boston Car Accidents involving Police

The police are there to serve and protect the citizens of Boston.  While there has been a lot of negative press about problems with some police officers across the nation, there are many good police officers who are trying to do the best they can to help the public.  This is especially important in cities such as Boston, which have felt the devastating effects of both terrorism and crime over the past several decades.

Boston car crashHowever, with so many police vehicles on the roads and streets of Boston, it is not a question of if, but rather when a police officer in an official vehicle will be involved in a motor vehicle crash.  

Boston Car Accident Law in Civil Cases

As our Boston injury lawyers can explain, when a claim is made with an insurance company following a car crash, it is based upon a claim of negligence in the clear majority of situations.  In order to prove a negligence claim, there must be proof of the following four elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damages

This can be found in the Model Jury Instructions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in many cases heard and decided by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), which is the highest court in our state not including federal courts such as the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The first element that must be established is that defendant owed a duty of due care to prevent foreseeable harm to foreseeable persons and property. There is no question such a duty exists with respect to motor vehicle torts because the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) clearly requires anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth to drive in a safe and reasonable manner to prevent injury to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  These are all foreseeable plaintiffs in a Boston car accident case.

The next element that must be established is breach of one’s duty.  This can be established by showing defendant violated a traffic law, which was designed to prevent the type of harm that actually occurred in the case at hand, or it can be shown by some other type of careless behavior.  The point here is when we talk about a car accident, we are really referring to something which was someone’s fault, and not merely an accident in the conventional use of the term.  If something is not anyone’s fault, there can not be a way to hold defendant civilly responsible in a court of law.

Boston Car Crashes involving Police Vehicles

When a car accident involves a police officer driving his or her official vehicle, there is always the possibility the accident was the fault of one or more officers. This means there will likely be a case against the city of Boston.  Even though the Boston police is an agency of the city, it is not necessarily a jural entity in that it is considered a political subdivision of the government.

It is possible to file a case against the government, but there are issues that do not come up when suing a private person or corporation.  The problem is often related to what is known as sovereign or governmental immunity. Governments are required to perform many functions for society to run properly.  For example, in the case of police, they are needed to prevent crime from occurring, to investigate and solves crimes that have already occurred, and to act as first responders in the event of an accident or other situation, which results in serious personal injury to one or more persons.  All of these functions are known as sovereign functions because they are required and being done for the benefits of the public according to the law.

There was a fear that if the government was constantly facing lawsuits from members of the public, it would not be able to function properly so there were protections set up to make it more difficult for a government to be sued, and in many cases, to limit the amount of money for which it could be sued when an action is ultimately filed.   This doesn’t mean a lawsuit cannot be filed, but it does mean you should speak with an experienced Boston car accident lawyer, who has handled a good number of cases against the Boston police and other local and state governmental agencies in the past.

Recent Example of Motorcycle Accident involving Boston Police

Cities across that nation recently celebrated Pride week, and this involved a Pride parade in many of these cities. According to a recent news article from Boston.com, three people were injured when two police motorcycles collided with each other during the Boston Pride Parade.

A spokesperson for the Boston police has said two motorcycle officers were responding to a  call involving another officer who was apparently in need of medical attention. While they were on their way to the scene, they collided with each other. In the course of this collision, an elderly woman who was watching the parade was injured by one or both of the motorcycles and the drivers of the two motorcycles were also reportedly injured. All three victims were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in downtown Boston, and were treated for their respective injuries. While the exact condition of the three victims has not been released, it is believed none of the injuries were life threatening. With respect to the two officers, it  has been suggested they were only taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution.

Authorities have also said they were able to clear the accident scene and get everyone to the hospital without having to interrupt the parade. There has been no report of who was at-fault in the accident, but this is typical in crashes involving the police since they do not like to publicize such incidents whenever possible.

If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

3 injured in Pride Parade accident in Boston, June 10, 2018, Boston.com, Associated Press

More Blog Entries:

Massachusetts UM/ UIM Claims May be Forced into Arbitration, Feb. 24, 2018, Massachusetts Bus Accident Attorney Blog