Car accidents sometimes occur when government employees drive in a careless and irresponsible manner. These government vehicles may include municipal buses (like city or county buses), city trucks, and police cars.
If a government employee driver is negligent for causing a car accident – such as by violating one or more traffic laws – both they and the governmental entity that employs them may be responsible for a subsequent car accident and injuries.
Filing a car accident claim against a governmental employee or entity, such as a city, county, or other municipality, is sometimes an uphill battle.
In most jurisdictions, notice provisions apply pursuant to the Local Government Tort Claims Act for that jurisdiction. Under this statute, a car accident victim or their lawyer may first need to supply the governmental entity with notice if they plan to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the entity.
In some instances, depending on the jurisdiction where the accident occurred, the accident victim may need to file their notice within as little as a few months of the accident.
Otherwise, they may file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against the governmental entity seeking the monetary compensation and damages they deserve.
Additionally, these notice provisions often serve as a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government. Therefore, if the accident victim does not provide the necessary notice but goes ahead and files a lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss the lawsuit in short order.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident that involved a governmental employee or vehicle, you need to consult a knowledgeable Myrtle Beach car accident attorney in your jurisdiction right away.
Your lawyer can determine whether the Local Government Tort Claims Act for your jurisdiction likely applies to your motor vehicle accident scenario. If it does, your attorney can supply the responsible governmental entity with the proper notice and then pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
After filing the personal injury claim for monetary damages, your lawyer can handle every step of the process for you, from gathering documentation to negotiating with insurance company representatives.
Moreover, if the insurance company does not offer you favorable settlement compensation, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or governmental entity in the state court system. Your attorney will aggressively fight for your right to recover the fair monetary compensation you need for your car accident injuries.
If a government actor causes a collision while operating a work vehicle, the governmental entity's insurance company will typically become involved in your case.
As part of the claims-filing process, your attorney can gather certain documents and assemble them into a settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster to thoroughly review in your case.
Pertinent documents in your car accident claim may include:
- Relevant medical treatment records and bills
- Photographs of visible injuries that you suffered in the accident
- Property damage photographs that show damage to the involved vehicles
- Lost income documentation (if you are making a claim for lost earnings)
- Police reports and diagrams
- Reports that experts prepare, such as accident reconstructionists
- Video camera footage which shows the accident occurring (if available)
Upon reviewing this documentation, the insurance company may reach out to your attorney and put a settlement offer on the table.
Since first-time offers from insurance company adjusters are routinely very low, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate on your behalf with the adjuster in pursuit of a better settlement offer.
For example, your lawyer may point to relevant documentation in your case, including the police report, expert reports, and medical treatment records.
If the insurance company still does not offer you favorable monetary damages, then your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation in the court system. If necessary, your attorney may then file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or the governmental entity that employs that driver.
The governmental entity may need to defend the lawsuit since you can hold these entities vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees in some circumstances.
Car Accident Types and Causes
Government employees may cause a serious accident in a government vehicle, just like in any other accident scenario.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents that involve government employees and vehicles include:
- Distracted or inattentive driving, where a driver does not pay attention to the road, such as by texting and driving, making a cell phone call while driving, listening to loud music in their vehicle, or turning their head away from the road for any other reason
- Intoxicated driving, where a driver operates their vehicle while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, often causing them to lose concentration and experience various symptoms, including blurred vision, delayed reflexes, poor muscular coordination, impaired judgment, inability to judge distances between vehicles, and slowed reaction time (such as preventing them from stopping their car in time to avoid an accident)
- Road rage, where a driver operates their vehicle aggressively and recklessly, such as by tailgating other vehicles or passing them in no-passing zones (or without using turn signals), often in an attempt to get ahead of slower-moving traffic
- Traffic law violations, where a driver violates one or more traffic laws, such as by failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is lawfully in a crosswalk intersection, failing to use a turn signal, failing to use mirrors when backing out of a parking space, or excessive speeding
When government actors drive carelessly and recklessly, they may bring about several different types of traffic accidents.
Some of the most common accidents that occur when other drivers behave in a reckless and careless manner include:
- T-bone or broadside collisions, where a negligent driver causes their vehicle to strike the side panel of another vehicle – usually at a four-way stop sign or traffic intersection
- Sideswipe accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to exit its travel lane and strike the side of a vehicle that is traveling in an adjacent lane
- Head-on accidents, where the fronts of two vehicles strike one another directly, often resulting in fatal injuries for the drivers and passengers involved
- Tailgate (or rear-end) accidents, where one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the responsible driver is not watching the road closely enough or becomes distracted while driving
In addition to irresponsible government employee drivers, a governmental entity may be vicariously – or automatically – liable for the negligent acts of their employees in some jurisdictions.
Additionally, a governmental entity such as a city or county may negligently entrust one of its vehicles to an irresponsible driver, including a driver who has a record of prior moving violations or who has a history of DUIs.
If you sustained injuries in one of these types of accidents that resulted from a government employee’s negligence, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible driver and/or the governmental entity that employs the driver.
Your attorney can review your case with you, determine your legal options, and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve after taking the necessary legal steps on your behalf.
Injuries in Car Accidents
Individuals who are involved in car accidents may suffer severe and sometimes permanent injuries, depending upon their circumstances. Since every car accident scenario is different, and every vehicle is different, the types of injuries that a car crash victim suffers can vary significantly from case to case.
Factors that may affect the nature and extent of an accident victim's injuries include the type of vehicle, the force of the collision, the accident victim's bodily movements at the time of the crash, and the kind of accident that occurs.
Common injuries that car crash victims frequently suffer include:
- Open lacerations and bruises
- Spinal cord damage
- Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Rib fractures
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue contusions
- Permanent cognitive impairments
- Jaw, mouth, and teeth Injuries
Upon suffering Injuries in a car crash that a governmental actor or entity caused, you need to obtain medical care as soon as possible after your collision. A medical provider can refer you to a specialist who can provide additional and ongoing medical care.
For example, if you suffered a broken bone in your accident, you may need to consult an orthopedic doctor and undergo surgery to repair your injury. Additionally, you need to seek continuous treatment for your injuries so that you increase your chances of obtaining a full medical recovery.
Meanwhile, your car accident lawyer can start advocating for you and pursuing the financial compensation you need and deserve.
Recovering the Financial Compensation You Need to Become Whole Again Following Your Car Accident
If you file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against a negligent government driver or governmental entity, you can receive various categories of monetary damages through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or a fair litigation result in the court system.
The recovery you ultimately receive will depend largely upon the overall accident circumstances and the severity of your injuries. Other factors that may affect your total damage award include the cost of your medical treatment and whether or not you missed time from work following your car crash.
Common monetary damages include compensation for:
- Mental anguish and distress (such as for post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health conditions you developed after your car crash)
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of the ability to use an injured body part
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Related past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity (like if you had to take a pay cut after switching jobs due to your injuries)
- Lost income
- Long-term or lifetime care costs
- Past and future pain and suffering
Your attorney will work to maximize the monetary compensation you receive so that you can become whole again after your car accident.
Talk With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Your Jurisdiction as Soon as Possible
Conducting any sort of business with the government can be challenging. Pursuing monetary compensation from an at-fault governmental actor or entity in a car accident case can be even more difficult.
However, an experienced car accident lawyer in your jurisdiction can work to streamline the process, ensuring that you receive the total monetary compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
First, your lawyer can provide the governmental entity with the proper notice and begin the claims-filing process on your behalf. During settlement negotiations, your lawyer can aggressively fight for your legal interests and pursue a favorable monetary settlement offer from the insurance company.
If that settlement offer does not materialize, then your attorney may file a lawsuit in court against all potentially responsible parties and bring your case to a favorable resolution.
Unlike the government's insurance company, your personal injury lawyer will be your advocate throughout every step of the process and will do everything they can to maximize the total settlement or litigation compensation you receive for your injuries.