You heard the crunch of metal and plastic behind you, the screech of your protesting wheels. And you felt the violent snap of your neck as your body propelled forward but your head did not. Your neck is sore, and surprisingly, it was a police car that struck the back-end of your vehicle. Filing claims against governments involves a little more than merely exchanging insurance information.

After being struck by a government vehicle, such as a New York City Police car, you should still exchange information with the other driver, which in this case is a police officer. You can still file a claim against the government for your damages, but you have some hurdles to overcome. First, you need to identify which government agency owns the car that struck you, which in our example is the New York City Police Department. But in many cases, the agency’s identity may not be so clear, so make sure you ask the other driver.

You cannot immediately file a claim against the government, you must first seek redress against the government or agency that owned the vehicle that hit you. In this example, you would file a “notice of claim” against the City of New York Police Department. This alerts the government agency that you will be seeking compensation.

After filing a claim, you will receive a determination that claim is either approved or denied. If your claim is denied then you may file a lawsuit in court. Sometimes your insurer will handle these steps for you, but it depends upon your policy, be sure to understand your insurance contract before you trust your insurer to handle this issue.

Hopefully, your issue will be resolved by the government, but if not you can always use the courts. Typically, you will probably want to consult with a personal injury attorney if a government vehicle hits you. These claims are slightly more complicated than merely filing an insurance report and it is good to have a knowledgeable party in your corner. Seeking compensation from the government is slower and more complicated, but it is not impossible.