What If You’re in an Accident With a Government Vehicle?

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In North Carolina, there are over 7,500 vehicles available for state employees to use. This total does not include the thousands of police cars or other government trucks.

In addition, the federal government is also a large employer in the areas we serve, and there are thousands more federal vehicles. If you have been injured in an accident with a driver behind the wheel of a government car, you may be able to file a claim for compensation.

There are different rules that you need to follow to get your money in a crash with a government vehicle. The Jacksonville, NC car accident lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can take on the government for you when they are unwilling to do the right thing.

Government Vehicles Involved in Accidents

Numerous branches of the government require vehicles to do their jobs. It makes economic sense for the government to own vehicles rather than rent them. There are some cases where a government agency will lease a vehicle for their use.

Some examples of government-owned and driven vehicles include:

  • Police cars
  • Buses
  • School buses
  • Cars that are used by state agencies
  • Cars that belong to the federal government

Not all government vehicles have obvious features that would identify them as government-owned besides their license plates.

Any government vehicle is one driven by one of their employees. The employee may not be specially trained to drive the government vehicle. The person driving could be any employee who needs to use a government car on that day. Thus, you never know the skill and training of the person behind the wheel.

You Can Sue the Government for Negligence in an Accident

In some cases, the government is sovereign, and they cannot be sued for certain occurrences.

However, the government waives sovereign immunity in other cases that allow you to file a lawsuit for a personal injury. The government can be sued for the negligence of its employees in certain circumstances. While there are limited situations that permit you to sue the government, you should contact an attorney who is aware of the different rules that govern your lawsuit.

Suing the Federal Government for Accident Injuries

There are numerous public vehicles in the Jacksonville, NC area. Because of the location of Camp Lejeune, there are often government vehicles in the area.

A law called the Federal Tort Claims Act that governs how and when you may sue the federal government for injuries caused by its employees. If you have presented your claim to the federal government, and they will not pay you, the law allows you to file a case in federal district court.

The FTCA does not have any cap on your damages. You can receive full economic and non-economic damages with no limits. However, you cannot obtain any punitive damages when suing the government.

Suing the North Carolina Government for Accident Injuries

If you were hit by a local North Carolina governmental vehicle, there is a special state law that allows you to sue. The State Tort Claims Act Provides that you can sue a state or local government for certain acts of their employees. The government can be held responsible for their own negligence, such as driving mistakes and not maintaining roadways in proper condition. The STCA does have certain caps regarding compensation for your injuries.

Damages in an Accident with a Government Vehicle

If you have been injured in an accident with a government vehicle, you may be compensated for the following:

  • Property damages
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

If you were injured in a collision with a government vehicle, you would not hold the individual driver responsible. Individual government employees cannot be sued for how they perform their own jobs, even if they were negligent.

How to Obtain Compensation from the Government for a Car Accident

Lawsuits against North Carolina governmental entities are heard by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the same body that decides workers’ compensation claims). Before you can file a lawsuit in court, you must first notify the government of your claim.

The government will review your claim and determine whether to make you a settlement offer. In most cases, the government would either deny your claim entirely, or they would offer you far less than you deserve in compensation. Thus, you may be forced to file a lawsuit with no other choice.

Government attorneys can be every bit as difficult as those who work for insurance companies.

You need an experienced attorney of your own to fight for you and hold the government accountable for their wrongful actions.

There are some instances in which you may be in an accident with a police car, where you would not seek compensation from the government. The police officer may have been involved in a chase where they were pursuing a suspect. The officer may have been forced to travel at a high speed in order to apprehend the driver. In this case, the driver who was the subject of the chase would be the one who was liable for your injuries. You may be able to file a claim against their insurance policy, or you would sue them in court.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in North Carolina Today

If you have been injured in a car accident with any type of vehicle, public or personal, the team at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys in North Carolina will work to further your legal right to full compensation.

Do not assume that the government wants to do the right thing for you because they are the government. Budgets need to be protected, and government attorneys are more than happy to force you to fight. That is exactly what we do on behalf of our clients.

To speak with one of our lawyers during a free initial consultation, you can message us through our website, or you can call us today at 910-405-7751. You owe us nothing unless you get something.

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