Who pays for the collateral property damege done by police that occurs on private property?
Say a cop is on a foot chase with an armed suspect, suspect runs into my home and locks the door behind him, cop kicks in the door ripping it from the frame, suspect runs out the back door with cop in pursuit and gets caught a block away.
Who pays for a new door? Is homeowners insurance supposed to cover this? Do the police have insurance that covers this?
Who pays for the collateral property damege done by police that occurs on private property?
The normal thing is that you claim off your insurance giving them all the details.
It’s up to them to claim back from the police or any other third party.
Make sure that you are covered so that you do not pay any excess yourself. This should be included in the other parties liability.
Ah, so the OP is also having trouble with those pesky police snipers?
“Your insurance covers it” doesn’t really answer the question, though…
I guess the situation in the OP is complex because part of the damage is from the suspect and part from the police. Without any knowledge of the actual law I’d say that if the police does damage to your property, especially when you’re an innocent bystander, it’s up to them to fix it or pay to have it fixed.
Yes but unless you want the shit of going through the process yourself
You notify your insurance and let them do all the work and claim back all the damages. They are experts at this and it is what you pay insurance for.
If you try standing in court yourself against some high powered lawyer I know who will come out best!
Sounds like some folks here have really expensive doors or really low deductibles, one of the two. Add up all the extra premiums you’ve paid over the past few years for those low deductibles and I’m sure it would dwarf the cost of any door I’ve seen on an average house. But maybe the cops would pay the deductible regardless of how the insurance discussions go?
I had the cops break my window once (civil matter, not a criminal) doing a health-and-welfare check triggered by a malicious process server. (And I’m still not sure why that’s even legal, but that’s another matter.) I never saw a cent from it, but then again I didn’t hire a lawyer. Wasn’t worth it for a $10 piece of glass and 15 minutes of work.
Sure, when this stuff happens then insurance is useful. But in general, I’m not a big believer in insuring stuff that you can afford to pay for yourself. If I had bought extended warranty for all my computers that would have added up to the cost of an extra computer. It would have come in handy a few times but not to the degree it would have made sense financially.
And why would there be a high-powered lawyer? If they’re in the wrong, shouldn’t they just own up to it and not try to weasel out from under it? I should sue them for that!
It doesnt at all. Even if you have your insurance company handle it, can they get the claim amount from the Government entity?
In the UK, it depends on the circumstances. If the cops kick (actually they use a special tool, not a size 14) my door down by mistake. I live at 14 Acacia Avenue and the crooks live at 14 Acacia Rd. They will pay for the replacement. If they do it lawfully to get to me or mine - tough. If they chase a suspect through my house and do some damage, it gets harder as they can claim that it was the suspect wot did it. I could pursue the suspect for damages, but it would probably not be worthwhile.
As far as expensive doors and deductibles go - my unexceptional front door +frame would cost £1,000 to replace and my deductable is £75.
Here’s a great staff report by** gfactor**
*Fact is, it’s not easy recovering for damage caused by the police regardless of circumstances. Courts have refused compensation to people whose property the police damaged while executing arrest warrants or search warrants. They’ve also refused compensation when police intentionally damaged property in an effort to flush out a suspect. Of the state courts that have considered the issue so far, only three, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Texas, have allowed those with damaged property to recover.
Of course there are other sources of recovery. If you have the right kind of insurance, it probably covers your vehicle if it’s damaged by police while they use it for law enforcement purposes. Many jurisdictions also either voluntarily compensate those who suffer damages when following the instructions of law enforcement personnel, or are required by local law to do so. Some victim compensation funds allow claims like this. Those injured while assisting police are often given workers’ compensation benefits under the police departments workers’ compensation program.*
This looks like a reasonable answer:
For #1 and #2 - the police don’t pay.
For #3 the police would probably pay, after you file a claim and their mistake was negligent. If not negligent, then #3 becomes #4.
For #4 you can sue.
There are a couple cases cited at the link.
I was visiting my sister a couple of years ago, and she had two things that she wanted to upgrade: the front door of her house, and her old first-generation HDTV. A few weeks later, someone broke into her house by kicking in the front door, and stole her TV and nothing else.
My sister was not particularly upset about the loss, but called the police. They asked her if she’d like them to dust for fingerprints around the house, and she said “sure.”
The police got the fingerprint dust all over her carpets in every room that was carpeted, and that stuff won’t come out. She went from losing two items that she wanted to replace anyway, to needing new carpets throughout her house, which cost her several thousand. That was all on her to pay for.
I’d like to know where you buy your glass. I guess if you don’t have double pane windows or any kind of energy efficiency rating on it, you MIGHT get it for that much, but I’m pretty sure we paid more than 10 dollars for a 12x16 piece of glass for a picture frame and that’d be a pretty small window…
£75??? That’s borderline ridiculous… is that UK law or something? If that was your choice, I’ve gotta say yikes. Of course you are paying for that in the form of premiums unless the government is subsidizing that. Who needs police to break your door when you’re getting burglarized by the insurance company each year.
With the money I saved when I changed my deductible from $5k to $10k, I could buy a new £1,000 door every few years and still come out way ahead. I would not even want to think about the cost of that £75 policy. Even for someone who has “accidents” all the time isn’t going to come out, I wouldn’t think. Because they just raise your rates. The ins companies are not in the business of losing.
True Value, which is a little hardware store around here. It was single-strength glass I believe because I didn’t know any better at the time. And obviously it was not double paned, just your standard glass in a wood frame. This was in 2008 dollars though. There was also no in-wall insulation in that house, so R-value on the windows would have been last on the list.
IME the police pay.
A few years ago my wife was hit head on by a drunk driver. The drunk driver’s drunk passenger was very belligerent and refused to provide his name or ID. He took out his iPhone and started recording and screaming “AM I UNDER ARREST? AM I FREE TO GO? ARE YOU CHARGING ME WITH A CRIME? AM I UNDER ARREST? AM I FREE TO GO?” until he inevitably assaulted one of the officers and they threw him at our car causing about $1,000 in damage. Our insurance treated it as a separate claim and required a second deductible which they returned after subrogation from the police department.
Another approach for the police to avoid paying property damage claims: Tell the claimant that they need to sue the perp or alleged perp that the police were after.
I witnessed a case of this sort in a small claims court once. Police bashed down an apartment door looking for someone, or for drugs, or something. Apparently they had an alleged perp in mind – the tenant there or a neighboring tenant who may have been involved.
Landlord sued police in small claims court. I happened to be sitting in the court that day. Police claimed that the alleged perp was liable for any damage the police might have done in trying to apprehend him, so plaintiff should go sue that guy. Good fucking luck with that!
(Since small claims verdicts are not announced on the spot in the courts around here, but mailed to the parties afterward, I never found out how it was decided.)
Another case that was very much publicized throughout the region where it happened: Police were engaged in some kind of hot pursuit. Perp jumped over a fence into a yard where owner had a horse. Police entered they yard by breaking down the fence (what? they just ran their squad car into it?) and the horse got out. Owner tried to intervene somehow (after the horse was already out?) and the police got violent with him, causing some injury.
Owner sued police for all of that. Police said the alleged perp was the liable party for any and all damage they caused trying to apprehend him. Courts ruled in favor of the police. Again, good fucking luck for the owner trying to collect anything from the perp.
The moral seems to be that police may commit arbitrary and unlimited property damage, with impunity, in the course of their work if they can simply argue that someone else is liable for it.
Vaguely, kind of related anecdote. A guy wrecked his car on the road by my business, taking out some guardrail and destroying the roadside mailbox bank serving me and six neighbors.
I called the state police and got a copy of the report. From that I eventually determined the driver’s car insurance company. I contacted them seeking restitution for the mailboxes and posts.
They initially acted like my claim was crazy, but I kept at it and eventually they requested an estimate. I got a quote from a contractor, which they again thought was going overboard. They suggested I could just buy the lumber and mailboxes and slap something together. I came back with evidence that my personal time was worth more per hour than the contractor wanted, plus it would take me longer.
In the end they paid, and my neighbor’s were impressed by the beautiful mailbox bank.
There’s also the issue of Sovereign Immunity, where in the United States the federal and state governments have broad immunity from civil suits. Counties and cities do not count as sovereign entities, being subservient to the state. However, a suit against either that ends up having an impact on the state may be barred by the state’s sovereign immunity. To summarize: you may be able to sue a city police department or a county sheriff’s office for breaking down your door, but you may be s.o.l. if it was done by state troopers.
Several years ago, a Task Force I worked with had search and arrest warrants for an address (123 Heroin Rd, perhaps). Unfortunately, there was another house in the town next door with the same address. Through a bit of rather sloppy police work (the guys who had done surveillance on the target house weren’t part of the raid), they hit the wrong address (in the wrong town!).
Because it was a high-risk warrant, it was a no-knock hit.
Naturally, the house we hit was a “devout family of Jehova’s Witnesses” (very unlikely -virtually everyone in both towns was a good candidate for arrest). I’m sure the three kids were rightly terrified, though.
We posted cops on the house and paid to have everything repaired. Something tells me someone’s promotion cycle got held up after that…