If you get in an accident, the procedure is typically simple. You file a police accident report to show fault, trade insurance cards, and let your insurance company handle the rest. In some cases, you may then file a civil lawsuit. If you are involved in an accident with a government employee, like a city bus driver, then the initial procedure is similar but the rules surrounding a lawsuit are slightly different.
About Sovereign Immunity
A city worker who is an employee and doing their job properly is protected from lawsuits by the concept of sovereign immunity. This law allows governments to act without getting too bogged down. However, in the case of negligence on behalf of the employee, you can sue the entity directly. Car accidents are one of the exceptions to this rule, but there is a much larger burden of proof that you need to use to show fault. This is in part to discourage too many lawsuits against the government but also because hired drivers are often highly-trained individuals that are subject to regular audits.
How to Sue a Government Entity
The rules on filing a lawsuit against a government agency will vary. Each jurisdiction has its own unique rules. Most of these agencies have very short windows of time where you are allowed to file. This can be as little as 30 days. Some entities have claims forms that you can file that allow you to discuss the problem and ask for a certain amount in retribution. If this number is reasonable and the cause is clear, you may have a check granted to you without needing to go to trial. In other cases, the government will handle much of the setup for a hearing.
The Trick to Winning the Case
When you get in an accident with a driver who works for a government agency, the benefit of the doubt will typically not go to you in a case that comprises one testimony versus another. However, your case will go better if you have all of your facts straight and a large amount of documentation. Good sources include photos, video, witness statements and contact information for the officer who was on the case. It is important to call the police immediately and file a report. You are unlikely to get much reception without a police report. Finally, be genuine about damages and don’t embellish them. In most cases, the agency will seek to do right by you in regard to the cost of medical bills and car repair if they are at fault. Pain and suffering is more difficult to win.
While it may be more complicated to get help with car repair and other restitution when you are in a fender bender with a government car, there are procedures in place to help. Be expedient, thorough, and factual, and contact a lawyer like Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd if you have questions. This will help you to get what you need quickly.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find Dixie on Facebook.