Omaha Government Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Did a Government Driver Cause Your Injuries?
A car crash will complicate your life. You may be facing serious injuries, trying to get your car fixed, and getting your life back in order. The last thing you want to worry about at a time like this is dealing with insurance companies and government bureaucrats. When your accident involves someone who was driving a government vehicle, it can get even more complicated.
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Some government vehicles are quite large, like buses and garbage trucks, and others travel at high speeds, like police cars and fire trucks. These factors may lead to a serious accident. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by someone who was driving a government vehicle in Omaha, you’ll want to find a car accident lawyer with experience is these cases.
Call Bottlinger Law, L.L.C at (402) 505-8234 to schedule your FREE consultation today. We can help you get a settlement that will cover the cost of your medical care and other expenses caused by the accident.
Types of Government Vehicles
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
When it comes to emergency vehicles, drivers must follow certain rules once these vehicles are turn on their sirens. For example, if you don’t move to the side of the road for an ambulance, you run the risk of getting in a serious collision or being cited for an infraction. Unfortunately, the people who drive emergency vehicles aren’t always as careful as they should be.
Liability in a Government Vehicle Accident
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 legal protection under the concept of “sovereign immunity,” which is the idea that a state is immune from civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution. This is an outdated legal concept that stretches back centuries, based on the premise that “the king can do no wrong.”
Sovereign immunity has be restricted by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which grants limited liability for the purposes of bringing civil lawsuits against the United States government.
After the FTCA became effective, many state legislatures followed suit by altering their liability laws. Under Nebraska law, private citizens are able to sue the state for injuries sustained in an accident. But state and local government lability is still limited.
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 from the date of the collision.
Complicated Rules for Suing State and Local Governments
The Nebraska State Tort Claims Act puts restrictions on when and how citizens can sue the state for damages. For example, all claims against the state of Nebraska are the responsibility of the State Claims Board. If a claim is not approved by the Board, the injured person may file suit in a Nebraska district court.
Claims against the state of Nebraska for damages totaling $5,000 or less must be approved by the State Risk Manager. Claims between $5,001 and $50,000 must be approved by the State Claims Board. And claims totaling more than $50,001 must be approved by the Nebraska State Legislature.
If you want to file a claim against a municipality or other local government entity, the process can be very complicated, as each jurisdiction has its own rules. You will have to check their website to find the filing deadlines and specific rules to where and how to find a claim.
Scope of Employment and Personal Liability
Scope of employment means any activity that is authorized by a competent authority and serves a government purpose. This legal term is central to the question of liability when dealing with a government vehicle crash. 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 wreck happened in accordance with the employee’s scope of employment, it is covered by the FTCA.
If a collision occurs outside the scope of the worker’s employment activities, that driver is personally liable for the accident. In these cases, your attorney may advise you to pursue a claim against the driver’s private insurance carrier.
Experienced Government Vehicle Accident Attorneys
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 Omaha 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 may 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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