Although it is difficult and complicated to sue a local, state or federal agency, it can be done if you have a tough, aggressive personal injury lawyer handling your case. Government entities are protected from being sued under the government (sovereign) immunity doctrine, a set of laws designating situations where a citizen can or cannot sue the government. This immunity doctrine especially applies to government-owned vehicles and the people driving them. Because many local, state or federal government vehicles are frequently responding to emergencies or expedited law enforcement activities, the government immunity doctrine gives them extensive latitude while they are performing duties expected of them. The “conduct” of government vehicles racing down the street with lights and sirens activated are judged in court by the standards of care applying to individuals under comparable circumstances.
However, emergency and law enforcement vehicle drivers should not facilitate accidents when responding to a critical situation. They are expected to exercise a reasonable level of care when acting in response to an emergency situation, regardless of the severity of the emergency. If an ambulance, fire engine, police car or other government emergency vehicle causes an accident while performing their duties and the potential for liability exists, an Arizona personal injury attorney experienced with litigating such cases is essential to proving liability and obtaining compensation for injured clients.
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, entities injured by federal employees representing the U.S. government can file injury claims based on “omissions and acts”. This means actions that weren’t done or should have been done by a federal employee may allow someone to sue them for damages occurring while the federal employee was performing their expected duties. Under FTCA rules, citizens harmed either physically or psychologically by an employee of the federal government have up to two years to file a claim (starting from the date the accident happened). Attorneys filing on behalf of clients injured by a government employee operating a government-owned vehicle must present a detailed description of facts supporting claims to facilitate a full investigation of the accident by the proper government department. Details also need to include dollar amounts of damages sustained by their client, such as car repairs, medical bills and property loss. Typically, government-caused vehicle accidents are settled within six months. When claims are denied by the government, your attorney can file another lawsuit for compensating injuries. Second claims must be filed within six months of receiving the original denial.
Hazardous road, highway and interstate conditions can also play important roles in cases involving government vehicles. For example, if roads are covered in snow and/or ice or are undergoing construction that makes the area perilous, government vehicle drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care while navigating such conditions. Generally, responsibility for safely driving through potentially dangerous road conditions is placed squarely on federal or state agency employees. In addition, state governments are liable for maintaining the safety of construction areas on roadways. Depending on
Usually, responsibility for dangerous highway conditions rests with the state or federal agencies governing road maintenance and/or construction. Depending on supplementary circumstances. private companies involved with road maintenance and/or construction could also be held liable in government involved vehicle accidents, especially when the government hired a private company to oversee road maintenance.
If you or someone you know has suffered injury due to being involved in an accident with a government vehicle in Arizona, please call our firm today at (602) 553-2220 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Using in-depth knowledge of complicated legal procedures involving federal and state tort claims acts, we will represent you with conviction and aggressive actions in court to help you receive the compensation you deserve for an accident that was not your fault. As a leading Arizona car accident and personal injury firm, we consider it our duty to find at-fault government employees and their insurance companies fully accountable for negligent actions. We want you to get the maximum compensation available and we don’t stop fighting for you until we achieve that goal.
Friedl Richardson is included in Super Lawyers® listings and in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers published by The American Trial Lawyers Association. We have helped hundreds of Arizona residents win their personal injury cases when other lawyers said it could not be done. Call us today for immediate legal assistance at (602) 553-2220 if you have been involved in an accident caused by a careless state or federal employee behind the wheel of a government vehicle.