Every motorist knows that a car accident can happen virtually anytime and anywhere. You do your best to avoid them by paying attention to the road and the vehicles around you, but you can’t avoid everything. The question arises, what do you do if someone hits you and that vehicle is owned by the government and driven by a government employee?
The doctrine of sovereign immunity
Generally speaking, no federal or state agency can be sued without its consent. This is known as the doctrine of sovereign immunity and New York is no exception. New York must waive this doctrine in order for it to be held liable when it is at fault in an accident – fortunately, it has done so with respect to car collisions. In Section 8 of the Court of Claims Act, New York has permitted the filing of lawsuits when its employees negligently drive motor vehicles.
The idea of negligence is fairly simple. Every person who operates a car or truck owes a duty to everyone else on the road – they must drive with a reasonable degree of care. Employees of state or municipal governments are no exception to this and, when they fail to exercise reasonable care, and injure another person in the process, they can be held liable.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, due to the negligence of a government employee, a personal injury lawsuit is a powerful tool at your disposal. However, there are differences between filing suit against a private individual or entity and a government agency. The claim may need to be filed in a very particular location and the time required for filing can be much shorter. Seek the assistance of an experienced professional who is knowledgeable about these key differences, to ensure the negligent party is held liable for their actions.