Suing the Government Over a Car Accident Injury
It is possible for a government entity to be liable for a car accident injury. Arizona allows injury victims to file a claim against the government for damages.
However, there are specific requirements for filing these claims and government entities and officials can have immunity from certain kinds of claims. The good news is, the victim usually must have exhibited a high degree of negligence to be barred from filing a claim.
Below, our Phoenix car accident attorneys discuss the specifics of car accident claims against the government. If you were involved in a car accident with a government vehicle or one being operated by a government employee, call our legal team today to find out if you may be able to take legal action.
How Could the Government Be Liable for a Car Accident?
While government entities are often immune from liability, there are many situations where a government entity or public employee may be held liable for car accident damages. For example, the government may hold liability for an accident caused by any of the following:
- Obstructions to a driver’s line of sight
- Hazards on the roadside
- Drops in pavement edges
- Improperly marked construction zones
- Rail-highway grade crossings that are unreasonably dangerous
A state agency may have had responsibility for maintaining the road with these defects that contributed to the crash.
Immunity from Certain Car Accident Claims
Arizona law provides qualified immunity to public employees who acted within the scope of their employment. This section of the law says these employees cannot be held liable for injuries that occur in various situations, including injuries to the driver of a motor vehicle that can be attributed to violations of the following statutes:
- AZ Revised Statute 28-693: Drivers who operate their vehicles with reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property can be found guilty of a class two misdemeanor.
- AZ Revised Statute 28-1381: This statute states that it is illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- AZ Revised Statute 28-1382: It is illegal for drivers to be under the extreme influence of alcohol, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 to 0.20, or 0.20 or higher.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim?
Claims against an Arizona state government entity must be filed within 180 days of the injury date. A written claim must be made naming the agency allegedly responsible for the injury, that includes:
- Description of the incident
- How the injuries happened
- The dollar amount of damages claimed
- Evidence supporting the damages amount, such as medical bills for injury treatment
The state has 60 days to respond to claims. If a response is not sent in the 60-day time period, you can consider the claim denied. If this happens, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the state government agency.
The 180-day period to file a claim may be different in incidents involving minor children or a victim who has been determined to be incompetent in court. If either of the above apply to the victim, he or she has 180 days to file a claim after reaching the age of 18 or being declared competent by the court.
Contact a Licensed Attorney for a Free Consultation
While there are a different set of laws governing a citizen’s ability to pursue compensation for car accident injuries involving a government entity, it may be possible depending on your situation. Our Phoenix car accident attorneys can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim against the government for your injuries.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today to learn your legal rights. There are no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.
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