If you are injured in a car accident in the State of Texas, you can only receive compensation if the other driver was at fault. But if the other driver was a local, state, or federal government employee who was working or driving a government-owned vehicle when the accident occurred, can liability be transferred to that government agency? In other words, can you sue the government for personal injuries after a car accident?
Yes, you can, but suing the government over a traffic collision isn’t easy, and a special set of rules will apply. You’ll need to be advised and represented from the start by San Antonio car accident lawyer Matthew S. Norris.
Federal, state, and local governments and their governmental agencies are generally protected against personal injury lawsuits by the legal principle of “sovereign immunity.” However, a state law in Texas, the Texas Tort Claims Act of 1969, partially waives the state’s immunity to liability for wrongs committed by its “governmental units” and their employees.
How Do You Bring Legal Action Against the Government?
Texas law allows you to sue a municipality or a government agency after a car accident in these circumstances:
- when the car accident was caused by a dangerous road design
- when the road was not properly maintained and became hazardous
- when a government employee caused the accident by driving negligently
A government agency may be liable for accidents caused by potholes, large cracks in the pavement, missing or improperly functioning traffic signals, poorly designed roads, missing guardrails, lack of proper road maintenance, and accidents involving a government vehicle or an “on-the-clock” government employee.
How Do I File an Accident Claim Against the Government?
Suing the government for a personal injury, as mentioned previously, is not like suing a business or a private individual. First, you’ll need to contact San Antonio car accident lawyer Matthew S. Norris. He will explain the process and guide you through every step of your case against the government.
Secondly, and with your attorney’s help, you must file a “notice of intent to file” with the appropriate municipality or government agency, usually within six months of the date when the accident happened. Several local and municipal governments in Texas set shorter time limits for filing notice of your intent to file a claim. San Antonio, for example, sets a 90-day time limit, while Austin’s time limit is 45 days.
When Should You Seek an Attorney’s Help?
It’s important to contact a personal injury attorney in San Antonio immediately after a car accident with a government employee or vehicle to determine exactly how much time you will have to act. Although most Texas municipalities and agencies give you six months, other Texas municipalities give you as little as 30 days.
If the notice of claim is denied or you do not hear back from the agency you submitted the claim to, you and your attorney may file a lawsuit with the court and launch the legal process. Another significant difference when you sue the government rather than a business or an individual is that your potential recovery amount is capped. Depending on the details of your claim and the agency or municipality being sued, your compensation will be capped at a figure from $100,000 to $500,000.
Contact The Law Office of Matthew S. Norris for a No-Cost Legal Consultation
Filing a personal injury claim against a Texas municipality or government agency is tricky, and not everyone injured in an accident involving the government will be eligible to file an injury claim. Every case is unique.
The Law Office of Matthew S. Norris has helped scores of clients prevail with their personal injury claims. You’ll pay us nothing for your first consultation, and you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until and unless we recover the compensation you need. To learn more or to begin the legal process, call the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris now at 210-549-7633.