Under fire from a dangerous armed robber, Police Officer P (employed by Police Authority Q) reasonably concludes that he must fire back in order to preserve his own life and the innocent bystanders around him, and lawfully does so. P's bullet hits another innocent party, R, who out of pure misfortune comes round the corner of the building where the armed robber is sheltering at precisely the wrong moment. A second bullet that P fires hits and damages a motor vehicle belonging to S. In the confusion, the armed robber makes off and is never traced. R and S seek damages from P and/or Q (and/or the State) for their gunshot injury and property damage respectively.
R and S are eligible to claim compensation from the federal state, which has to indemnify their losses according to the Polizeibefugnis-Entschädigungs gesetz (PolBEG), assuming that P used a firearm falling under the Waffen ge brauchs - gesetz. R's claim is reduced by whatever he can claim under the Verbrechensopfergesetz (VOG). To the extent R and S have first-party insurance cover for losses of the kind sustained, claims under the PolBEG are barred.
The facts do not imply that R or S in any way triggered the police action or contributed to their own losses in a blameworthy manner, either of which would exclude or at least reduce their claims.
R and S have to file a request for payment with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which has to react to it within three months. In the absence of a response or if R and/or S are dissatisfied with the decision by the Ministry, they can pursue their claims in court.
While fault of P is not required for claims to arise under the PolBEG, if established, it may give rise to a competing entitlement for compensation under the AHG, in which case the request filed by the victims with the Federal Ministry of the Interior also counts as a filing with the Finanzprokuratur as required by the AHG, starting from the moment it receives the request forwarded by the Ministry of the Interior (§7 para 1 PolBEG). The prime advantage of such a faultbased claim under the AHG is the fact that the latter also extends to lost profit and non-pecuniary damage. Needless to say, the victims can only recover once.