Legal Advocates for Victims of Government Negligence
No one expects to find themselves involved in a collision with an ambulance or a police vehicle, but these accidents happen more often than you would think. What driver’s ed may not have prepared you for is the fact that government workers can be just as reckless or negligent as other drivers. While they have an immense responsibility to drive safely and legally, they don’t always do that. From failing to check blind spots to running red lights without bothering to turn their sirens on, the driver of a government vehicle may feel as though they can’t be touched when it comes to accident claims, but we are here to tell you that isn’t true.
We at Tenge Law Firm, LLC have long served the people for Fort Collins in getting the compensation they need after an accident. Holding the government accountable can be tricky, but not impossible. With a Fort Collins government vehicle accident attorney who knows the law like the back of their hand by your side, you can still receive proper compensation for your injuries, as well as property damage. If you have found yourself the victim of a government driver, call Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (970) 212-4777 today to discuss your claim in a no-cost initial consultation.
Types of Government Negligence
While most people may assume that a government driver would do their best to drive as safely as possible, it is important to remember that government workers are human beings. Any driver is capable of acting negligent, no matter what their job is. Given our years helping the people of Fort Collins, we have seen a number of common scenarios where government workers cause serious accidents. These include:
- Ambulances and fire trucks rushing to emergencies without putting their sirens on
- Garbage truck drivers not checking their blind spots when making a turn or merging
- Break downs leading to accidents on public buses or trains
- Police cars that take turns too quickly, run red lights, and speed through traffic while in pursuit of a suspect
- Delivery vans, such as with the USPS, driven by delivery workers that are fatigued or rushing due to their tight schedules
- Reckless drivers being allowed to operate school buses
While a government driver should be held accountable for their actions, doing so can be difficult. The laws around personal injury claims are different when the entity you are filing a claim against is the government. However, you should keep in mind that it is not impossible.
The Difficulties of a Government Claim
Colorado, like many other states, upholds what is called “sovereign immunity” for its state government. This essentially means that the government cannot be sued unless your claim falls under one of the eight specific exceptions laid out in the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). Among these eight exemptions are car accidents. Specifically, “operation of a motor vehicle owned or leased by a public entity, by a public employee while in the course of employment.”
What this means is that if you are involved in an accident with a government vehicle and a government employee, then you can file a claim. However, you must file that claim within the statute of limitations, which is the legal time limit to file a claim. When going up against a private citizen, you should have three years to file your auto accident claim; however, filing against a government entity is much more urgent. You will have just 180 days from the accident to file an administrative claim with the correct agency.
Missing this 180-day deadline means that your claim will be barred, and you will not be able to recover any compensation, even if the government employee was clearly at fault. On top of that, a notice to the government must be filled out correctly with the appropriate information, if you want a chance to receive the compensation you need. Once the claim is filed, you must then wait 90 days in order to file a lawsuit, unless your claim was already denied or a settlement is reached. All of that being said, you should also keep in mind that compensation may be limited.
What Is a Case Worth?
When you file a claim, you do so in order to recover the damages that you have suffered from the accident. Typically, the amount you can receive in an auto accident claim is capped at a little more than $468,010 for non-economic damages, meaning pain and suffering, with the amount going up slightly every two years. This amount can be increased at the discretion of the court, as well, meaning that you could still receive more than that initial $468,010. In addition, there are no caps on economic damages, meaning your claim can be much higher based on your injuries and property damage.
However, when it comes to claims against the government, the cap is much lower. Currently, your compensation will likely be capped at $350,000 for a single person accident, which can increase to $990,000 limit if the accident involved more than one person. On top of that, you will not be awarded punitive damages under any circumstance, which may happen in a claim against a private citizen.
However, you can still recover compensation for multiple areas of damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of job opportunities
- Lowered quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
You should always keep in mind, however, the strict limits, both in terms of compensation and statute of limitations. If you neglect to work with an experienced attorney, it could place you in a position of losing out on the right to file a claim altogether. It is best if you recruit the help of an expert attorney right here in Fort Collins.
Excellent Legal Help From a Dedicated Law Firm
The team at Tenge Law Firm, LLC understands how frustrating it can be to go up against a government body, especially when one of their employees was clearly at fault for your injuries. Government workers should be held accountable when they act in negligence, just like everyone else. If you have become the victim of a negligent government driver, then you need the help of a skilled Fort Collins auto accident attorney. Our firm has the expertise, knowledge, and skill to thoroughly review your case and advocate for proper compensation from the government department who injured you. We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless we win your claim. To get started on your case, call our firm at Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (970) 212-4777.