The government may seem immune to litigation, and in some aspects, that would be a correct. However, in a system of checks and balances, some exceptions have been made. If you have experienced a car accident with a government vehicle there is some hope of getting compensation for your injuries.
In order to get the recovery you deserve, you will need the best New Orleans personal injury attorneys available. You need Cliff Cardone and Hannah Salter from the Cardone Law Firm.
Our car accident attorneys want to shed a little light on what your options are should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident with a government vehicle. But first, we need to understand some of the challenges that can arise.
Sovereign Immunity – also known as government immunity – is a legal doctrine that protects the government from lawsuits by individuals, unless certain exceptions to the general rule occur.
One of those exceptions is when the driver of a government car or truck causes an accident. Thanks to the Federal Tort Claims Act, you have the ability to sue the government if they caused your accident like you would be able to sue a private citizen who was at fault.
How Sovereign Immunity Affects Your Car or Truck Accident Case
In short, while sovereign immunity does protect the government from lawsuits by individuals, vehicle liability is considered an exception to the rule. That includes government vehicles like:
- Mail trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Government tractor-trailers
- Municipal or county snow plow trucks
- Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development trucks
- City or school buses
- A government official or employee in a privately-owned or city-owned vehicles
- Emergency response vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, or ambulances
But, as with most of everything else in life, context matters. When considering if you have a case against a government worker, there are two questions you need to ask yourself:
- Was the driver of the government vehicle driving recklessly, running red lights, making illegal U-turns, texting while driving, or drinking and driving?
- Was the trip that the government employee on duty-related or a non-government sanctioned?
Even drivers of government vehicles must follow the laws of the road and must take caution when driving on the same roads as the general populace.
Filing a Vehicle Accident Claim
The first step to fighting for your compensation—other than enlisting the aid of an experienced car accident attorney like the ones at the Cardone Law Firm—begins when you contact the government entity or agency at the city, county, state, or federal level.
More than likely, they will have an administration claim that you will have to file with the particular agency that was responsible. Keep in mind, though, that most government agencies have a very short deadline that must be met in order to get recovery. Generally, you will have between 30 to 180 days to file a claim, which is a way shorter time frame than the normal statute of limitations here in Louisiana.
Missing this deadline means that you essentially forfeit your right to seek damages from the government.
The agency or entity may require that you show up in person to pick up the form for a claim, fill it out, and submit it for review. One key thing to look out for is the area that requires that you insert the settlement amount that you are seeking. For maximum results, we recommend that you speak with a lawyer first before filling this out.
Shortly after, you will receive notification—usually by mail—as to the status of your claim. If your claim is denied, it is time to move on to plan b:
It’s time to file a suit with the government. The letter should state how much time you have to file it. Then…
Enlist the help of Cliff Cardone or Hannah Salter from the Cardone Law Firm.
If you have suffered a severe injury because of an accident with a negligent driver handling a government vehicle, then you need the strong, experienced representation that puts your interest first.