Lawyers For The People

When Can Car Accident Victims Sue the Government for Damages?

| Aug 3, 2020 | Car Accidents

Usually when a car accident occurs, the blame falls on another motorist. This is because car crashes often involve human error, such as being hit by a drunk driver or someone who forgot to look both ways before taking a left turn.

Yet, there are times when someone gets into a wreck because of a flaw in a road’s design or an obstruction in the middle of a highway. Who is at fault then? In instances such as these, you may be able to direct a lawsuit against the local government responsible for building and maintaining such roads. Our Oneonta car accident lawyers explain when car accident victims can sue the government for damages.

How Could the Government Be Liable for a Car Accident?

Though it is rare to sue a government entity for damages because they are often immune from liability, government agencies do owe a certain duty of care to people living under their jurisdiction. While every case is unique, an attorney can pinpoint situations in which a governmental entity or public employee can be held liable for a car crash.

Examples of car accident causes that the government may be held liable for include:

  • Hazards that are left on the roadside
  • Improperly marked construction zones
  • Obstructions to a driver’s line of sight
  • Unexpected gaps or drops in pavement edges
  • Unreasonably dangerous railroad or other crossings

If a city or state-run agency was responsible for maintaining the road where such a defect was present and a car accident occurs as a result, you likely have a claim against the government.

However, it is up to you to prove government liability. You can definitively prove that negligence led to your accident by showing all of the following:

  • The state owed you a reasonable duty of care
  • That duty was breached when your accident occurred
  • The accident caused bodily injury to your person
  • Compensable damages (like medical bills) directly resulted

Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim Against the Government?

If you choose to file a claim against a government agency in New York State, don’t wait. Most legal actions must be completed by a certain deadline, known as a “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations for claims against the government in New York allows claimants 90 days from the date of their accident to file a notice of claim and a year and three months to commence a lawsuit.

The written notice of claim must be sent to the agency responsible and include information such as:

  • The name of the individual or entity responsible for the accident
  • A detailed description of the incident, including the date, time, and location it occurred
  • What injuries you sustained and an explanation of how they happened
  • Evidence showing what damages you are owned, such as copies of medical bills
  • The total dollar amount of the damages you are claiming

Calculating the exact amount of your damages, collecting evidence that supports your claim, and proving that the government violated their duty of care can be difficult to do on your own. An experienced car accident lawyer in the state of New York can aid you in putting together this information.

Contact a Licensed Attorney for a Free Consultation

Because going against the government in a lawsuit involves many procedures and hurdles, it is best to consult and work with an attorney on your case. Our Oneonta car accident lawyers have decades of experience dealing with such cases and we are not afraid to stand up to government agencies on your behalf.

Request a free, no-obligation consultation today with one of our experienced Oneonta car accident attorneys by contacting us online.