When Victims Cannot Sue the Government Over an Auto Accident Injury
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you’re injured in a car crash, medical bills begin to accumulate as soon as you are loaded into an ambulance and taken to hospital. In addition to medical expenses, your car is damaged, and you may be out of work, limiting your ability to earn an income.
You need money to cover your expenses, and insurance companies are often slow to respond, and payout claims. If someone else’s negligence caused your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury case for compensation.
However, if the negligent party is a government employee or entity, suing may not be an option. Federal and state laws prohibit some lawsuits. It’s more difficult to file a case against the government than a private citizen. You need a personal injury lawyer with the right knowledge to guide you.
Get legal advice from Michigan-based firm Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our personal injury lawyers are here to assist you. We understand the complexities of filing lawsuits against the Michigan state government and the Federal Government. We’ll handle your case so you can focus on recovering from your car accident injury.
When Can’t You Sue the Government For Damages?
If your accident involved the Michigan state government or the federal government, you may be unable to file a lawsuit.
Personal injury cases against the government are more difficult to win. There are laws in place to protect government entities and employees from liability. Exemptions may prevent you from filing a claim.
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) sets the rules for suing the federal government.
The FTCA waives immunity and allows individuals to sue for injury, property damage, or wrongful death. This allows you to sue the federal government if you’re injured due to the negligence of a federal employee.
However, there are high standards of proof that make filing a claim against the federal government difficult. There are also several limits preventing you from filing a claim. You cannot sue if the federal employee was not working at the time of the accident. The employee must be working in an official capacity to file an eligible claim.
You also can’t sue if they were driving a private vehicle instead of a government-issued vehicle. If the employee is driving a government-issued vehicle but is not acting in an official capacity, you cannot sue.
You cannot file a claim against the government if an independent contractor caused the negligence. Even though they work for the government, independent contractors are not considered government employees.
If the negligence happened outside the scope of employment, you can’t file a lawsuit. Government agencies are also protected from being held liable.
Michigan State Government
The laws for filing a lawsuit against the state of Michigan differ from the federal laws.
The Michigan Governmental Tort Liability Act protects state agencies and their employees from liability. These entities are granted immunity so long as they’re “engaged in governmental function.”
Michigan Courts have interpreted the term “government function” broadly. It’s much harder to prove an action isn’t a government function. This leads to more protection of state employees and entities from lawsuits.
The term “government function” means that you can’t sue if the state employee was doing their job at the time of the injury. If you are in an auto accident with a state employee, you can’t sue the government for damages if the employee was working for the state at the time of the incident.
You can’t sue the state government if your auto accident resulted from poorly maintained public roads or highways. Even if the state government was aware of defects in the road, they are given a reasonable time frame to fix them.
Any injury resulting from state government vehicles is subject to Michigan’s No-Fault Act. The No-Fault Act prevents claims against drivers unless the injured person has a serious impairment, physical disfiguration, or has died.
Before you can file a lawsuit, you have to file a formal claim. This claim is presented to the government agency, where it can be approved or rejected. There are specific time limits to file a claim and lawsuit.
You have 120 days to file a claim if your injury occured on a road or highway. The same timeline applies if your injury was caused on government property or within a public building.
For a government agency, you have six months to file a formal claim. If your claim is not given a response or rejected, you have two years to file a lawsuit.
Local governments have different rules and regulations for filing claims. The laws are complex and contradictory. It’s best to work with a local personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
Protect Yourself After an Automobile Accident
Our Detroit, Michigan-based team of lawyers are experienced in filing claims and lawsuits against the government if you are in a motor vehicle accident. We will hear your case and advise you for the duration of your claim.
Call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW) to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys today.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.