What Happens If You’re Hit by a Government Vehicle?

In Charleston, car accidents are, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence. While these incidents can involve many types of drivers and can be caused by a variety of factors, some collisions involve government employees and their vehicles. Accidents involving government vehicles differ significantly from conventional car accidents, which is why it is important to work with a Charleston, SC car accident attorney who can provide clarity into the legal process.

Different Types of Government Vehicles

Government-operated vehicles encompass a diverse range of automobiles, either owned or leased by various entities. Many of these vehicles are much larger than typical cars and are often required to travel at high speeds in emergencies. This dynamic increases the risk of potential accidents and can put the public in danger.

Examples of government vehicles include:

  • Ambulances
  • Military trucks
  • Mail trucks
  • Police cars
  • Fire trucks

Your Rights After an Accident with a Government Vehicle

South Carolina is a fault state when it comes to car accidents, requiring drivers to pay for any collisions that they cause. However, colliding with a government vehicle introduces complexities to these claims. Unlike traditional accidents where dealings are primarily with insurance companies, you will need to deal with complex governmental structures if you are hit by a public servant.

In many cases, certain governmental roles are shielded by immunity. As a result, the party responsible for the accident, the subsequent injuries, and property damages might be legally insulated from liabilities. This can significantly impact your options for recourse and financial compensation.

Additionally, victims have a shorter time to file claims against the government compared to other types of car accident claims. Unlike South Carolina’s standard three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you may be required to initiate a government claim in as little as 180 days.  Missing this deadline can prevent you from filing a claim and securing compensation.

How to File a Formal Claim Against the Government

In the aftermath of an accident with a government vehicle, prompt action is essential. To initiate the process, you must submit a formal written report that contains pertinent details about the accident, such as:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A personal statement regarding the car accident and how it happened
  • Supporting facts and evidence showcasing how the collision occurred
  • The amount of compensation that you are seeking in damages

One of the very first steps that you should take after a collision is to seek medical care for any injuries. With clear documentation of the damage caused by the accident, you can submit a stronger claim for compensation. If you are able, try to gather as much evidence from the scene of the accident as possible; take photographs and videos of your vehicle damage, visible injuries, and the area around the crash.

Then, you should contact an attorney who has experience with car accident claims right away. Claims against the government have a much shorter filing deadline than other types of cases, and 180 days can pass very quickly while you are recovering from the accident’s aftermath. To protect your right to recovery, contact a Charleston car accident lawyer as soon as possible to explore your legal options and begin your path to justice.