May 6, 2015- Henrico, VA
A Henrico police officer and a second driver were taken to VCU Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries after their cars collided Wednesday night.
While Henrico police have not released complete details about the crash, NBC12 reports that the accident happened around 8:30 p.m. on North Laburnum Avenue at Nine Mile Road.
Generally, Virginia law exempts police officers from criminal prosecution of traffic offenses “when such vehicle is being used in the performance of public services, and when such vehicle is operated under emergency conditions.”
While emergency conditions are not specifically defined, law enforcement officers must be in “the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or persons charged with or suspected of any such violation” or “in response to an emergency call.”
Specifically, police officers are exempt from certain traffic regulations and may:
- Disregard speed limits
- Move through posted stops if the speed of the vehicle is sufficiently reduced to enable it to pass
- Park or stop notwithstanding applicable traffic laws
- Disregard regulations governing a direction of movement of vehicles turning in specified directions
- Move around or pass another vehicle at any intersection
- Pass or overtake stopped or slow-moving vehicles on the left, in a no-passing zone or by crossing the highway center line
- Pass or overtake stopped or slow-moving vehicles by going off the paved or main traveled portion of the roadway on the right
However, police officers are required to exercise these exemptions “while having due regard for safety of persons and property.” Law enforcement officers will lose these exemptions from criminal prosecution for “conduct constituting reckless disregard of the safety of persons and property.”
Alternatively, the law also states that “nothing in this section shall release the operator of any such vehicle from civil liability for failure to use reasonable care in such operation.” Determining whether a police officer may be civilly liable for injuries or damage resulting from a car accident is extremely complex. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with police vehicles, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at ReidGoodwin as soon as possible to schedule a legal evaluation.