If you were in a car accident with a public service vehicle, you have the right to sue who’s at fault and make the proper personal injury claims. This applies whether you’ve been hit by a public service vehicle, or if you were in a public service vehicle as a passenger.
As a passenger, you are unlikely to be at fault if an accident occurs. If you are in another car, you will need to prove that the public service vehicle was responsible for the accident.
You’ll need to find out which governmental body is responsible for that vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, it could be your city, county, the state of Texas, or the federal government. In most cases, you cannot also sue the driver of the vehicle personally if they were driving on behalf of their government employer.
As with any car accident, you are able to make claims for the damages incurred. Most importantly, you will want to make a claim for the medical treatment you received as a result of the accident. Additionally, if your injury prevented you from working, you can also make claims for your lost wages.
You are also entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and physical impairment. Automobile accidents involving public service vehicles can result in severe injuries that may affect someone for the rest of his or her life. They include:
Regardless of the type of injury you may have, you are entitled to seek compensation for all economic and non-economic damages incurred.
There are special rules that apply to making claims against government entities. Most importantly, you are required to give proper notice to the government entity within a certain amount of time. This time is usually six months, but for some counties (including Harris County), that time limit can be shortened to as little as three months. In short, if you don’t properly notify them in writing about your personal injury claim by this time, you forfeit your right to sue altogether.
Another major limitation to suing the government comes in the form of “emergency situations.” If a government vehicle is responding to an emergency, as police officers and firefighters often do, then the government cannot be held accountable for any negligence on behalf of the employee. For example, if a police officer is responding to a call and driving with its lights and siren on and causes a crash, the injured citizen cannot sue the government. It does not matter if the officer was responsible for the crash or if he did not follow traffic laws. The injured party will likely, and unfortunately, be out of luck.
There is particular urgency when it comes to accidents involving governmental vehicles. You need to identify the proper parties and adequately notify them of your claim within a certain time-frame. Additionally, you might be prohibited from bring your claim at all. Since there are a number of variables when suing the government, it is highly advisable to consult with an attorney before pursuing your injury claim on your own.
A seasoned lawyer will use their professional expertise to send proper notices and gather the necessary evidence to prove liability for the accident. He or she will facilitate the claims process on your behalf and ensure you are timely and fairly compensated for your injury.
The aftermath of an accident can take a toll on the injured, as it comes with a number of challenges. It often leads to both physical and emotional stress for both the injured party and his or her family. The help of a competent personal injury lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a government vehicle, call our offices today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.