Police Liability: Most Common Claims and Lawsuits

While police officers have a responsibility to maintain public safety, they also face potential risks stemming from their actions. These risks can lead to common claims and lawsuits that can be financially crippling for officers and their employing agencies. As an insurance agent, you should understand the significance of the most common claims and lawsuits in police liability to provide your clients with comprehensive police liability insurance coverage.

Common Claims and Lawsuits

Police officers confront unique risks and challenges while executing their duties. Understanding these inherent risks is essential to comprehending the scope of potential claims and lawsuits that may arise.


Police officers may face liability for negligence if they fail to exercise reasonable care while performing their duties. Negligent actions may include mishandling evidence, failing to protect a crime scene, or inadequately responding to a call for assistance.

Failure to Protect

Officers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of individuals. Failure to do so may result in claims when officers do not adequately safeguard individuals under their care, leading to harm or injury.

False Arrests

False arrests occur when an officer detains an individual without proper legal justification.

Civil Rights Violations

Violations of an individual’s civil rights can arise from excessive use of force, racial profiling, and other actions that infringe on a person’s constitutional rights.

Understanding Police Liability Insurance

This insurance safeguards law enforcement agencies from the financial repercussions of common claims and lawsuits. Police liability insurance protects officers and their agencies from the financial fallout of legal actions. 

These policies include coverage for legal defense costs, settlements, and judgments arising from lawsuits. Inadequate coverage may leave officers and agencies vulnerable to financial losses in the event of a lawsuit. 

How Insurance Agents Can Help

Insurance agents can help law enforcement agencies understand the fundamentals of police liability insurance, including the unique challenges officers face and the legal risks that can arise.

Insurance agents have the expertise to customize coverage for the unique needs of law enforcement agencies. They can address specific risks, such as K-9 units or SWAT teams, and tailor policies accordingly.

Effective communication and collaboration between insurers and law enforcement agencies are essential. Insurance agents should work closely with police departments to understand their specific needs and risks, tailoring coverage accordingly.

Insurance agents can also provide regular policy reviews to ensure coverage aligns with current legal standards and regulations. This proactive approach helps prevent potential coverage gaps and ensures policies are up to date.

Protecting Those Who Serve

Police liability insurance is a safety net for officers and their agencies that can protect individuals and organizations from the financial devastation resulting from lawsuits. By addressing potential liabilities head-on, law enforcement agencies can focus on their responsibilities while minimizing the risks and costs associated with common claims and lawsuits in police liability. 

In a time of heightened scrutiny on law enforcement practices, the role of insurance agents is more crucial than ever in safeguarding those who protect and serve our communities.

About PGUI

Professional Governmental Underwriters, LLC., is a full-service risk management company dedicated to assisting public, educational, and non-profit entities in the management of their professional liability exposures, including educators liability insurance. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art professional underwriting management and loss control advisory services on behalf of our designated carriers. For more information, call us toll-free at (800) 586-6502.