As motorists, we know that a car accident can happen just about anytime and anywhere. So we drive cautiously and pay attention to what’s going on around us, in an effort to avoid such accidents. But what if you become the victim of an accident anyway, and it involves a government vehicle? What are your options?
Motor vehicle accidents and negligence
New York law requires the driver of every vehicle to exercise a reasonable amount of care when they’re behind the wheel. This means driving safely and not becoming distracted from the task at hand. When someone fails in this legal duty and causes an accident which injures you, they are negligent. New York gives you the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in these instances, so that you can be made whole.
But what if the other vehicle is a government vehicle?
Government employees make mistakes and cause traffic accidents too. The problem is, there’s an old doctrine called sovereign immunity. It’s been around for a very long time and it states that the government (and its agents) cannot be sued without its consent. Fortunately, although New York follows this doctrine in many areas, it has specifically waived it for motor vehicle accidents. As a result, when a government employee causes an accident, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit.
However, filing a lawsuit against a government agency or its employee can be far more complex than filing against private persons or entities. You may face many more restrictions on where you can file it, when you must file it and what you’re entitled to recover. Because of these restrictions, it’s important to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable professional who is experienced in New York personal injury law.