Truck Accidents Involving Government Vehicles:
A Comprehensive Guide
Learn more about truck accidents involving government vehicles, liability, legal actions, and how Dressie Law Firm can help you. Call us now!
Brief Overview of Trucking Accidents Involving Government-owned Vehicles
Getting involved in a truck accident is a horrible and nerve-racking experience. When the truck is owned by a state or federal government entity, the case’s complexity jumps to another level. This is because different, often stricter, rules apply when determining liability and seeking compensation.
For instance, determining liability in accidents caused by government trucks involves deciphering whether sovereign immunity applies. Insurance claims may involve multiple parties and layers of coverage, making the process even longer and more complex.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a government-owned truck, it’s crucial to know your rights and be aware of the governing laws. At Dressie Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling personal injury claims involving government vehicles, and we can help you with yours.
What Makes Government Vehicle Accidents Unique?
One critical factor that makes accidents involving government vehicles unique is the concept of sovereign immunity. It is a legal doctrine that protects government entities and their employees from lawsuits.
Generally, the government is immune from lawsuits, and any suit filed against it will be promptly dismissed. This immunity extends to government employees as long as they act within their responsibilities’ scope.
However, the government gives some exceptions to this rule. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), you are allowed to sue federal government agencies for unintentional or intentional injuries or losses, including those caused by federal government vehicles.
Georgia has its version of the Tort Claims Act. This act allows people to sue state government agencies for personal injury or property damage caused by government employees while on duty or while performing duties. It waives state sovereign immunity in certain cases and provides some exceptions.
The provision allows plaintiffs to sue county, municipal, or state governments for vehicular negligence. However, the defendant must be a government entity, such as the Georgia DOT, Georgia State Patrol, etc., rather than the negligent employee.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents With Government Vehicles
The statute of limitations to file a claim against the government is usually shorter than with regular car accidents. You have to report the accident to the appropriate government agency. Under federal law, you have a two-year deadline from the accident to file your claim.
Under Georgia law, things are slightly different. Usually, accident claims in Georgia have a statute of limitation of 2 years. However, when filing a car accident claim against cities, counties, or the state government, you need to first notify the concerned agency through an Ante Litem notice.
When dealing with accidents involving state government entities, you have to notify them within a shorter time than the standard two-year limit. The deadline depends on whether it’s a municipality, county, or the state of Georgia.
In Georgia, if you have a negligence claim against the state or a county, you need to notify the relevant agency within 12 months (O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1). For a claim against a local city or municipality, you must send the Ante Litem notice to them within six months from the accident or injury date (O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5).
If a lawsuit is necessary, you still have to file it within the standard two-year limit. Remember, there’s a strict time limit for this notice. You may want to speak with an Atlanta truck accident attorney for guidance on preparing and filing the notice on time.
Determining Liability in Truck Accidents Involving Government Vehicles
Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence rule. Therefore, when determining liability, courts consider each party’s percentage of fault and attribute liability accordingly. Victims must be less than 50% at fault in order to recover compensation for their damages.
In general, negligence occurs when someone’s actions fall below the standard of care a reasonable person would have met. To prove negligence on the part of a government vehicle, you should have substantial evidence.
If you are found partially at fault but eligible for compensation, your award is reduced by your fault percentage.
Filling Insurance Claims
Filling an insurance claim against the government can be complicated. As such, you should speak with an attorney to increase your chances of getting fair compensation. The process, as outlined under Georgia Code 50-21-26, is as follows:
Notice of Claim
If you want to make a legal claim against the state of Georgia, you must first follow these steps:
- You have to give written notice of your claim within 12 months of discovering the issue.
- You need to send this written notice by certified mail or hand-deliver it to the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services. You also need to send a copy to the state agency responsible for the truck accident.
- You can only start legal action against the state once you’ve given this written notice.
- When you file a formal complaint, you must include a copy of the notice you sent to the Department of Administrative Services.
- Your notice should include information like the state agency involved, when and where the accident happened, accident details, and how much you’re claiming.
After receiving your notice of claim, the Department of Administrative Services will investigate the accident. During this period, the department can examine records from state agencies to investigate your claim, even if those records are usually private. However, they have to follow the law’s guidelines and can’t share these records with others.
Starting a Lawsuit
You can only sue the state once the Department of Administrative Services denies your claim or 90 days pass without a response.
It is important you file your claim on time after an accident with a government-owned vehicle. To prepare your written claim, ensure you include the following details.
Your full contact details
The date the accident with the government vehicle occurred
The full facts of the accident
Evidence and supporting documents
The damages you seek for the injuries you suffered from the accident.
Our Experienced Injury Attorneys Can Help You
Did you suffer injuries from truck accidents involving government vehicles? Do you want to learn more about truck accidents involving government vehicles, liability, and available legal actions? Dressie Law Firm can guide you on the options available and direct you on the steps to take.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys can represent your interests effectively in negotiations and secure the best possible outcome for you. Our approach prioritizes open and honest communication with clients so you can stay up to date with your case at all times.
Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!