If you were injured in a car accident caused by a government employee driving an agency vehicle, your claim is much more complicated than a typical auto collision case. It's difficult to hold a federal, state, or municipal government responsible for injury compensation. However, it's possible if you have the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney.
Vehicle Accidents and Governmental Immunity
Under federal and Missouri law, the legal theory of sovereign immunity applies to governments, their agencies, and employees. This means they're protected from many types of liability, and from being sued by individuals unless an exception to the rules applies.
Fortunately, victims of governmental car accidents in Missouri can pursue claims for injury compensation under the Federal Torts Claim Act and the Missouri Tort Claims Act.
There are many types of government vehicles involved in auto collisions covered by these laws. They include:
- Emergency vehicles, such as police car, fire truck, and ambulance
- Mail trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Municipal snow plows
- City or school buses
- State, county, or municipal trucks
- Government-owned vehicles driven by employees
Unique Requirements for Claims Against Government Vehicles
Under Missouri's Tort Claims Act, you must prove that a government employee committed a negligent act or omission that caused your car accident to hold him and the governmental agency liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At the time of the accident, the employee must have been engaged in a job-related task.
You must comply with special rules when pursuing a claim against a federal or state governmental agency. These include the following:
Special notice requirements
You may need to comply with special rules about giving the government notice of your injury claim. You'll need to check with the governmental entity responsible for compensation to make certain you're complying with the agency's specific requirements.
Shortened statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a lawsuit. If you miss the window of opportunity, your complaint will most likely be dismissed. This time period is significantly shorter for a claim against a governmental agency. For example, under the Missouri Tort Claim Act, you often only have 90 days for file your formal complaint.
Importance of Retaining an Attorney Quickly
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by an employee driving a government-owned vehicle, it's crucial to retain an experienced car accident attorney right away. He'll understand the special considerations for government auto crash claims, and will be able to take prompt actions to protect your legal rights.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
Remember, you may have only three months to file for proper compensation, so speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online, or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.