An accident with any vehicle is stressful, but a collision with a government vehicle can be nothing shy of a nightmare. Unfortunately, local and state agencies are lined with red tape that the average citizen can have difficulty navigating. If you've been involved in an accident with a government vehicle, ensure you know what to do to ensure you are protected.
Report the Accident
Do not hesitate to report the accident to the police. While the ideal scenario would be to call the police at the scene of the crash, in many states, you can go to the police and file the report after the accident has occurred. However, there may be a statute of limitations, so do your research.
For example, you may have 30 days to file a report after the date of the accident. Remember, the police report is your proof that the accident did occur, so you cannot move forward without the document.
Determine the Agency
Get specific information about the agency that the driver is employed by. Government systems are complex, in that one agency may be an umbrella for dozens of other agencies. Since the government will likely pay for your damages based on a line of accounting for the specific agency, you need to know exactly who to seek damages from.
If you don't have this information, you may get the runaround because no agency will want to assume financial responsibility for an accident that they are not, in fact, responsible for. The driver of the vehicle should be able to provide you with a badge or identification number for this information.
Check the Guidelines
Once you have determined the agency that the driver is associated with, use this information to research their guidelines. When you have an accident with a civilian, you typically go straight to their insurance company to file a claim. In contrast, when you are involved in a crash with a government vehicle, you may need to file an administrative damage claim with the agency first.
Only after the claim is reviewed by the department and denied will you have the opportunity to file a complaint in court. However, it's important to note that these requirements can vary between state, city, and federal governments.
The government is massive; you don't want to fight on your own. Contact a law firm, such as Carter & Fulton, P.S. for help. By doing so, you partner with an attorney who will keep your interests and needs front and center.Share