If you or your loved one was injured in a crash that involved a government vehicle, you might be able to file a claim against the appropriate government entity to recover your damages. However, be forewarned that this is no easy feat; the government has a lot of built-in protection against liability, and there are very stringent guidelines on when and how you can bring a claim. You’ll want to discuss the specifics of your case with a local injury attorney.
Understanding Government Immunity
Most state governments work under doctrines that protect them from civil liability. These rules are usually referred to as state immunity or sovereign immunity. The doctrine essentially shields the government from liability should a victim ever wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule. The government does allow people to file personal injury lawsuits and collect compensation from the government entity in certain situations – auto accidents being one of them.
Ohio Revised Code 2744.02(B)(1) provides that unless the crash is caused accidentally by a government vehicle responding to an emergency call, “political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent operation of any motor vehicle by their employees when the employees are engaged within the scope of their employment and authority.”
Will the government pay for your damages?
There is a good chance that if you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a government worker, you can file a claim and recover your damages or at least a portion of them. The Ohio Department of Insurance explains the following facts about sovereign immunity in their Guide to Automobile Insurance.
- If you can prove that the government driver was 100 percent negligent, and you do not carry collision coverage, the city will pay the full cost of the damages.
- The government will only have to pay for damages that are not covered under your policy.
- If you do have collision coverage and the accident was the government worker’s fault, the city will pay your deductible for you.
There are a lot of particulars when it comes to filing a claim against a government entity, such as, can I file an injury claim even if there was no damage to my car? It’s highly advisable to consult an attorney before proceeding. For quality legal counsel in Ohio, don’t hesitate to contact attorney David Bressman. Call the office today at (614) 538-1116 for a free one-on-one consultation.