How Do I Handle a Car Accident with a Government Vehicle in NYC?

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    Car accidents make for complicated cases, but they can become incredibly complex when involving government vehicles. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate your case against a government entity after an accident.

    The first hurdle to clear is getting your car accident case filed. Normally, car accident victims cannot sue for damages under the no-fault insurance system in New York unless they suffer a “serious injury.” If you meet this threshold, you must be concerned about filing a timely notice of your claim with the appropriate government agency. The deadline to file this notice is very tight, and you should speak to an attorney about it immediately. Once you have filed your notice of your claim, you and your lawyer can begin gathering evidence to support that claim. You need evidence of the accident in addition to evidence of the government’s involvement. Damages in accident cases in New York may be very high as there is no statutory cap on damages.

    For a free initial evaluation of your claims, call our NYC car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.

    How to File a Claim for a Car Accident with a Government Vehicle in NYC

    Filing a claim for a car accident in New York can be somewhat challenging, especially when the other vehicle is a government vehicle. First, you must meet New York’s serious injury requirement imposed on all auto accident claims. Second, you must abide by notice requirements that apply to cases where municipal or government entities are named in lawsuits.

    New York’s Serious Injury Rule

    In the State of New York, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This is no-fault insurance that covers the driver regardless of who caused the accident. New York drivers file claims with their own PIP policies instead of filing third-party claims with the other driver’s insurance, as is common in other jurisdictions.

    With that being said, filing a lawsuit for a car accident is not prohibited, but there are certain criteria your case must meet. Namely, your case must satisfy the serious injury rule under I.S.C. Law § 5104(a). Under this rule, only drivers who suffer a serious injury as described by law may sue for damages.

    A serious injury is explained under I.S.C. Law § 5102(d). According to this rule, a serious injury includes losing limbs or extremities, losing bodily organs or functions, death, significant disfigurement, broken bones, lost pregnancies, the significant limitation of a body part or organ, or any non-permanent injury that hinders ordinary tasks of living for at least 90 days during the 180 days after the accident.

    Rules for Suing a Governmental Entity

    Another roadblock you must overcome with your attorney is serving notice of your claim. In all cases, plaintiffs must serve notice of their claim on the defendant. This usually happens when the case is filed. When municipal or government entities are named as defendants, notice works differently.

    According to G.M.U. Law § 50-E(1)(a), you must notify the appropriate government entity of your claim no later than 90 days after your cause of action arose. The notice should include details about the accident, your claims, damages, and other pertinent details. This notice is often delivered before the case is filed.

    This is a very tight deadline. If you are injured in an accident with a government vehicle, you should speak to our Brooklyn car accident attorneys right away so they can begin working on the notice. If the deadline to send the notice passes, you might be unable to sue the government entity for the crash.

    Evidence You Need to Handle a Car Accident Case Involving a Government Vehicle in NYC

    Evidence is a necessary component of any case. Without evidence, your case may quickly fall to pieces. You will need evidence of the accident and evidence of the government’s involvement. Where this evidence comes from will depend on your unique circumstances, and you should discuss the matter with an attorney as soon as possible.

    Some common examples of evidence in car accident claims include videos and photos taken straight from the scene of the crash. Often, drivers take photos of accidents for insurance purposes. These photos can also be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit for damages. Traffic cameras in the area might have recorded the accident on video. Similarly, nearby security cameras from homes or businesses might also record the collision. Dashcam footage can also be extremely helpful.

    You should also have evidence linking the defendant to the accident. In this case, you need some evidence showing the other vehicle was in fact a government vehicle. Photos of the car and license plate might be sufficient to prove that the government owns it. You might also have witnesses who can testify that the other vehicle was a government car.

    Damages in NYC Car Accident Cases with Government Vehicles

    Damages in an accident case involving a government vehicle may be very similar to damages in more typical car accident cases. You can claim various economic and non-economic damages related to things like medical bills, property damage, pain, suffering, and more. You should discuss your damages at length with an attorney to get an idea of how much compensation you rightly deserve.

    There are no damage caps in New York, including in cases where the defendant is a government entity. In other states, lawmakers have imposed statutory caps on certain kinds of damages. Sometimes, caps are enforced specifically on cases where the government is named as a defendant. This is not the case in New York, and your damages may be as high as necessary to adequately compensate you for your losses.

    Call Our NYC Car Accident Lawyers if You Were in a Collision with a Government Vehicle

    For a free, confidential assessment of your claims, call our Manhattan car accident attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.