What happens if you get hit by a government vehicle?

Everyone knows that governments get special treatment. The government can borrow at very low rates, they collect money from taxpayers, and they are, historically, immune from liability. The modern trend has been to waive this immunity, but not without some caveats. This article will explore what this "waiver" of immunity means and how it relates to you if you get hit by a government car.

While states typically allow some form of liability against governments, the first thing you need to do is differentiate between local, state and federal vehicles. In filing for compensation, the rules you must follow will be contingent on which agency owned the vehicle that struck you.

Everyone knows that if you get into a car collision either you or your insurer will take care of it, this is not the case with government vehicles. You are not allowed to file a lawsuit against the government after you are hit. You must first file a "notice of claim" against the owner of the vehicle that struck you. It is important when you are exchanging information with the other driver that you know which government agency or department for which he is employed.

You must file your claim with the relevant department. The department will then review your claim, which will be either denied or accepted. If your claim is denied, you may file suit in court. Generally speaking, most meritorious claims will be resolved at the administrative level. Governments usually want to save money, and they do this by settling out of court rather than fighting every single case.

Don't relax just because you are not in a courtroom, you may want to seek the assistance of an attorney. Being struck by a government vehicle does not mean that you will never get the recovery you deserve, it just means that there may be a few extra steps first.

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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