What to Do if a Government-Owned Car Hits You
Posted in Car Accidents on April 13, 2022
Car accidents can happen at any time, in any place. In Missouri, negligent drivers are financially responsible for any accidents that they cause. If you are injured in a collision, you have the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault motorist and recover compensation to pay for your losses.
If your case involves a government employee, additional considerations will apply. You will not only need to deal with insurance following the collision—you will also need to deal with the agency that owned the vehicle. In these situations, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Your Rights After a Government-Involved Collision in Missouri
Claims involving government agencies follow different rules than other car accident cases. If you are hit by a car in Missouri and the vehicle is owned by a state or local government agency, your case will fall under the Missouri Tort Claims Act. Federal employees are subject to liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
These laws make it possible to hold the government accountable for accidents, but the process can be complicated. In Missouri, state and local government agencies in Missouri are immune to liability thanks to a doctrine known as sovereign immunity. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
According to Section 537.600 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, you can pursue a claim against the government in the following cases.
- A government employee injures someone while operating a motor vehicle or motorized vehicle. The employee’s negligence must be responsible for your accident. For example, speeding, running a red light, and failure to yield are acts of negligence.
- A dangerous condition on the agency’s property caused an accident and the agency’s negligence contributed to the incident.
Unlike car accident claims against private citizens, which follow a five-year statute of limitations, claims against the government have a shorter filing deadline. You must bring your claim against the government within 90 days of the accident.
Steps to Take After a Government-Owned Car Hits You
Time is of the essence following a government-involved car accident. Because the filing deadline is so short, it is necessary to initiate your case as soon as possible. Take the following steps after the accident to seek help and gather evidence for your case.
- Call 911 and report the accident. The responding officer will create a report that you can use to establish important facts about the accident.
- Seek medical care and save all of your records. Always seek treatment, even if you do not feel hurt.
- Gather evidence by taking photographs and videos, collecting physical evidence, and exchanging contact details with witnesses in the area.
- Briefly speak with the at-fault driver and collect his or her name and employment information.
- Contact a Missouri car accident lawyer with experience handling government claims.
After you consult with an attorney, he or she will help prepare your formal written claim. Your attorney will gather the information necessary to file your claim and complete all of the required forms, helping you avoid potential administrative errors.
A Kansas City car accident lawyer can provide several important benefits throughout the government tort claims process. As soon as possible following your collision, speak to an attorney and take your first steps toward filing a claim.