Getting into an accident with a government-owned vehicle may seem like you are in deep trouble, even if you weren’t at fault. Couple that with how difficult it actually is to sue the government, and you have an intimidating truck accident case that may discourage you from seeking the recovery you need to get your life back on track.
But you aren’t alone. You need fearless lawyers that will take your case and represent you in a court of law against the government agency that has reduced your quality of life. You need the Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns.
While government, or sovereign, immunity protects the government from lawsuits, exceptions are set in place to right the wrongs that may have been done.
What is government immunity?
When it comes to lawsuits, the government is protected by a legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity effectively protects the government from being sued by individuals unless a specific exception to the general rule has been made.
Typically, government truck accidents can be considered such an exception. Thanks to the Federal Tort Claims Act, you have the general ability to sue the U.S. government if you would be able to sue the private person for the accident that occurred.
Seem a little confusing? In short, it means that if you, in an imaginary scenario, had the ability to sue a private trucker or trucking company who was at fault for your accident, you may have a case with a government driver that was at fault of your government truck accident.
How does government immunity affect those involved in a car crash with a government vehicle?
Government immunity does protect the government from lawsuits by individuals, but when it comes to government employees that are involved in auto accidents while on duty or off, vehicle liability is considered an exception to the rule.
It could be any kind of government employee or vehicle including:
- 1. An emergency vehicle like a police car, fire truck, or ambulance.
- 2. A mail truck.
- 3. A dump truck.
- 4. A garbage truck.
- 5. A tractor-trailer.
- 6. A municipal or county snow plow.
- 7. A Texas Department of Transportation truck.
- 8. A city bus or school bus.
- 9. A government official or employee in a city-owned or private vehicle.
While government immunity makes suing for damages difficult in a government vehicle accident case, it all depends in part on what the driver was doing at the time of the accident as well.
- 1. Was the trip the government employee on a duty-related trip or a non-government function?
- 2. Was the driver partaking in reckless driving practices such as drunk driving, running a red light, making an illegal U-turn, or texting while driving?
Contrary to what most may think, even if emergency response vehicles have a siren and bright lighting to alert the public of their presence, they still must proceed with care.
If you have suffered severe injury, or even lost a loved one, due to a government vehicle accident, it is imperative that proper liability is established in order to help compensate for your lost wages, medical needs, and other expenses incurred.
How to file a vehicle accident claim against the government.
In order to seek damages from a government entity or agency from the city, county, state, or federal level, you will more than likely need to file an administrative claim with the particular agency that the employee is from that caused the accident.
Be mindful, however, that most government entities have a short deadline that must be met that is unlike what normal statute of limitations provide. When filing an administrative claim, you usually have between a 30 to 180 day period to file. Missing this deadline may mean that you forfeit your right to recover compensation for injuries sustained, property damaged, or wages lost.
Filing a claim may be as easy as going to the agency, picking up the form, filling it out, and turning it back in, depending on the agency. Within this form, it may ask how much in compensation you are looking to settle for. Seek guidance from a trustworthy lawyer, like our truck accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns, to help you determine this amount.
Shortly after you’ve filed your claim, you should get a letter in the mail detailing the status. If it is denied, you can still sue the government in a court of law. If that is the legal path you take, the letter should also detail the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
Enlist the aid of experienced attorneys that aren’t afraid to tackle any tasks. Call Lapeze & Johns today for dedicated and experienced legal guidance.
Lawsuits can be complicated, especially when dealing with the government. You need an experienced legal team that can sift through the technical procedures that must be followed and meet deadlines that must be met. You need Houston’s own Lapeze & Johns, the Gulf Coast’s best truck accident attorneys around.
Contact us today at (713) 739-1010 for your free legal consultation.