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Glendale Government Vehicle Accident Lawyers

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Legal Help Afer a Crash with a Government Vehicle

While all car accidents are traumatic, expensive, and often lead to serious injuries, accidents involving government vehicles come with a unique set of complications. In most auto accidents that involve an injury, you can file a claim against the other driver who injured you. However, with government vehicles like police cars, ambulances, or garbage, you must abide by tight deadlines and strict rules in order to receive compensation.

If you have been involved in an accident with a government vehicle, you should immediately contact Aghabegian & Associates, PC. Our Glendale government vehicle accident lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience representing accident victims throughout Los Angeles County and have successfully recovering more than $125 million in damages. To work with an experienced legal team, call our office at (818) 507-4311 and schedule a free consultation.

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What Is Different About an Accident Involving a Government Vehicle?

Standard procedure after a car accident includes filing a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company, gathering evidence to support your claim, and negotiating the terms of a settlement, or filing a lawsuit to seek to recover damages. If the negligent party was operating a government vehicle, you have far less time to take action. For an accident involving a regular vehicle, the California statute of limitations is two years, whereas with government vehicles, you only have six months in which to file an “administrative claim.”

Accidents involving government vehicles fall into two categories:

  • Government vehicles performing routine duties: These are accidents caused by a driver of a governmental agency vehicle that is performing routine tasks, such as garbage trucks, street sweepers, and postal vehicles; and
  • Government vehicles performing emergency duties: This would include police cars or ambulances that cause an accident while rushing to the scene of an emergency. Although first responders are exempt from obeying prevailing traffic laws while responding to an emergency, they are still responsible for taking reasonable precautions to avoid accidents.

In both situations, the government agency can be held liable in a government vehicle claim if the driver caused the accident through an act of negligence. This also applies to government contractors who handle specific tasks or projects, such as construction work, utility maintenance, or cargo transportation. In order to file a successful claim, an accident victim must prove several key facts, by a stricter standard than normal personal injury claims.

  • “Burden of proof”: Unlike typical accidents where the insurance adjusters evaluate the situation based on police reports and other evidence, in cases involving a government vehicle you are fully responsible for proving that the offending driver was negligent and at-fault, and therefore owes you compensation. Furthermore, the standard of proof for establishing the liability of a government agency is often much higher.
  • Statute of limitations: With only six months in which to file a personal injury claim against a government agency, you have a much shorter window of time to take action. After the initial filing, the governmental agency has 45 days to respond to your claim. In some cases, the length of time may be extended or tolled, but that is rare. If your claim is denied, you have six months to file a lawsuit to seek fair compensation for your injuries. If the agency fails to respond to your claim within 45 days, you have two years to file a lawsuit.

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What About Governmental Immunity?

Certain governmental positions are granted “government immunity” or “sovereign immunity,” restricting private citizens from the right to sue the government. However, in 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act – creating exceptions to this immunity and allowing private citizens to file suit for damages in specific cases. In the case of vehicular accidents, as long as you can prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident and your injuries, you have the right to pursue compensation – but you will need an attorney to ensure that all documents are filed in a timely manner, in the form the agency requires, and are fully supported by evidence.

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I’ve Been in an Accident with a Government Vehicle – What Do I Do Now?

The first step to take is to contact an experienced car accident attorney. The procedure for filing a claim varies for each municipality and county, so you will need the support of legal counsel on your side to ensure your right to compensation is protected.

If you are within the six-month statute of limitations, we can quickly launch an investigation into your accident. This can include reviewing the accident report, contacting an accident reconstructionist, taking photos of your damaged vehicle, collecting witness statements, and obtaining surveillance footage or accident photos. From there, we will quickly go to work calculating the costs of your injuries, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Once we determine how much you should receive in compensation, we will file your claim with the agency that injured you, which may include:

  • CalTrans
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • Los Angeles Fire Department
  • Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Amtrak
  • United States Postal Service

If the government agency that injured you fails to respond to your claim or denies it within 45 days, we can then file a lawsuit and represent you in court. While the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, government claims can be more contentious, and you should work with a team of skilled trial attorneys to get compensation.

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How Aghabegian & Associates, PC, Can Help

At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we are aggressive, experienced attorneys who are dedicated to fighting for justice for car accident victims. You need a legal team you can trust to fight for your rights and we relentlessly pursue the maximum in damages for you. With over 40 years of combined experience, our personal injury team has recovered $125 million for our clients.

We understand the challenging, traumatic, and stressful results of a serious injury – especially when your injuries were caused by a government vehicle. Let us take your mind off the legal matters associated with your personal injury claim, so you can focus on what matters – your health and recovery. Call Aghabegian & Associates, PC, today at (818) 507-4311 for a free consultation.

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Call (818) 507-4311 to learn more.