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What happens when a car accident is caused by a police officer?

Being involved in a car accident can bring its own set of problems, but when the accident involves some Texas police officers, it can become even more complicated. Houstonians are crying out for answers after police officers responsible for accidents are apparently not being ticketed or held responsible for the damage or injuries they've caused. One Clear Lake woman involved in a car accident remembers being hit at what she felt was 100 miles an hour, suffering physical injuries as well as a totaled car.

When her crash was investigated, the Houston Police Department found the car accident was caused by the officer. However, the cop did not receive a ticket and was only reprimanded in writing. And statistics show this particular officer is not a minority in this regard. Research between 2008 and 2012 documented that Houston police officers were found to be at fault in 155 major car accidents. Some of the reasons involved were not stopping for lights or signs, speeding or not using caution, but the one common thread in all of these accidents was that no officer received any type of citation for causing the collision.

Another individual was struck by an officer who ran a red light but was not even responding to an emergency at the time. The victim suffered injuries, racking up $60,000 in medical bills and $6,000 in damage to his vehicle. The officer was suspended for one day after causing that accident. After involving an attorney, the city of Houston only paid $5,300 for the damages to his truck. He rejected the medical settlement after it was deemed a "low-ball offer," but one issue that many victims run into is the city often interjects immunity as a means of defending against these types of claims.

Texas citizens are concerned about the treatment of its citizens after being involved in a car accident under these circumstances. They are demanding answers and many believe officers deemed at fault should be penalized like regular citizens would be. While the majority of accidents officers are involved in are said to be minor, the question remains: Should the fact that they are a police officer excuse them from liability after they have harmed someone or caused property damage due to their own negligence?

Source: KHOU, "Crashes caused by cops leave victims wanting justice," Jeremy Rogalski , April 26, 2012

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