Omaha Government Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Getting into a car crash comes with several complications. Not only must you deal with serious, sometimes life-threatening injuries, but you also have to contend with your insurance company and deal with a whole host of other issues. Beyond that, when the car accident involved a government vehicle, things can get even more complicated.
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Whenever we see a government vehicle out on the road, most of us start feeling a bit more cautious. Oftentimes, ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks travel at high speeds to get to wherever they are going. This, coupled with the fact that many government vehicles are larger than your average car, increases the danger when you do get into a collision.
When people think of a “government vehicle,” they might conjure up the image of a sleek, black FBI sedan. The reality is that we see government-owned vehicles almost every day; all sorts of emergency, public service, or public works vehicles crowd the roads. Some of the most common government vehicles includes:
- Police cars
- Fire trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Public school buses
- City buses
Other drivers must follow certain rules when these vehicles are nearby. If you don’t move to the side of the road when an ambulance’s sirens are blaring, for instance, you run the risk of getting in a serious collision or getting charged with a crime. Additionally, colliding with an emergency vehicle could interfere with its ability to rescue someone in need. But sometimes, these government drivers aren’t as careful as they should be.
When your vehicle is hit by a government vehicle, it will not be as easy to start a lawsuit to recover your damages. Historically, government vehicles have some measure of protection under the concept of “sovereign immunity,” which is the idea that a state is immune from civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution. This changed, however, with the passing of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which granted a limited amount of liability to the United States government and gave citizens the ability to pursue civil suits against the government. After the FTCA passed, many state legislatures followed up, passing their own laws regarding liability.
Under Nebraska law, private citizens are able to sue the state for injuries sustained in an accident. In ordinary cases, a civil lawsuit in Nebraska would have a statute of limitations, which is a time limit for how long you can wait to file a claim, of about four years. But when it comes to a lawsuit against the Nebraska government, that limit is reduced to two years after the date of the collision.
“Scope of employment” is a legal term that is central to the question of liability when dealing with a government vehicle crash. It is defined as any activity that is authorized by a competent authority and serves a government purpose. Actions that fall into the scope of employment for a government employee include:
- An act that is commonly performed by an employee
- An act that occurred during normal business hours
- An act motivated to serve the employer
Examples of things that fall outside the employee’s scope of employment include:
- Commuting to and from work
- Any deviation from the route when driving
- Using a vehicle without permission
When the driver of a government-owned vehicle hits another car and is found to be at fault, liability on the government’s part is determined by whether the employee was acting within the scope of employment or not. If the accident happened in accordance with the employee’s scope of employment, it is covered by the FTCA. If it happened outside the scope of employment, that driver is personally liable for the accident.
When you collide with a government vehicle, not only can it be more dangerous, but it makes an already complex legal process all the more confusing. That’s why you should work with a dedicated car accident lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to guide you through the process of filing your claim and fighting for the financial compensation you deserve. With the help of Bottlinger Law L.L.C., you could recover damages for medical expenses, lost income, and more, depending on the nature of the harm you suffered. Start getting the help you need by calling our Omaha office at (402) 505-8234.
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