Glendale Government Vehicle Accident Lawyers
While all car accidents are traumatic, expensive, and often lead to serious injuries, accidents involving government vehicles come with a unique set of complications. If you have been involved in an accident with a government vehicle, you have minimal time in which to file a claim so you will likely need the help of a Glendale auto accident attorney immediately.
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.”
Accident’s 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; 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.
There are several key differences between standard automobile accidents and those involving government vehicles, including:
- “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.
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.
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.
At Aghabegian & Associates, P.C., 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. Let us take your mind off the legal matters associated with your claim, so you can focus on what matters – your health and recovery. Call us today at (818) 507-4311 for a free consultation.