A claim for just compensation after an injury that was not your fault may be important to pay for the additional expense of treatment, recovery and loss of income. There may seem to be a stumbling block if you were hit in your own car by a government owned and operated vehicle, such as a city bus.
However, despite a measure of immunity that protects governments across America from civil claims, genuine cases of injury due to negligence may still be accepted. Talk to a personal injury attorney first before embarking on the protracted claims process.
City and State Laws Regarding Government Personal Injury Claims
Claims against cities are controlled by the state’s Tort Claims Act, which prevents many claims from being accepted except where genuine cases of negligence have been proven to have caused harm.
A notice of claim must be submitted to the city department or agency that you believe was responsible for your injuries, or the relevant department in the state government. This must be done within 180 days of the injury occurring, or the claim will be denied outright. It is important to provide sufficient information about the injury and how it happened with the claim and any other supporting evidence such as medical reports and bills.
Each city has a claim form which can be downloaded from the respective website. The same applies to forms used for claims against the state.
If you haven’t heard back from the city within 60 days, or you have had a letter denying the claim, your only recourse is to file a personal injury claim with the help of an attorney specializing in claims against a government entity.
Unlike some other states, there is no cap on damages, but there is no provision for awarding punitive damages.
What Could Cause a Car Crash With City Property?
Bus collisions are probably the number one cause of car accidents, or at least those involving a government owned vehicle. Every city department has its own vehicles, of course and it is quite possible that you could be hit by a negligent city employee at any time. There is an exception that exempts emergency vehicles such as ambulances or police cars from legal action against their respective agencies if they are responding to an emergency situation.
Apart from crashes involving government owned vehicles, poor road maintenance may result in an injury. Other minor causes are impacts from falling insecure structures on government buildings or bridges.
Car Accidents Involving a Shuttle Bus
The car is king still, but the city must be doing something right because it has been given the “America’s Best Transit System” award from the American Public Transportation Association on a number of occasions.
While bus collisions are not frequent, they can be serious when a smaller vehicle has been hit by one. Drivers could be under pressure to get passengers to where they want to go on time and keep to a schedule. That might mean cutting corners, not paying sufficient attention to other road users and stress. Some accidents are caused by distracted driving, others may be caused from intoxicated or drug-using drivers.
Not all accidents are caused by drivers. Some buses have just been maintained insufficiently and equipment failure may lead to an accident. Defective parts may be used when repairing buses and this is a small, yet significant factor in bus / car collisions.
Use an Attorney to Help You With a PI Claim Against the City
It is not easy winning any personal injury claim, unless the circumstances are completely obvious to all. Claims against a government entity are more difficult still and it is advisable to discuss a possible claim action with an experienced attorney who has dealt with claims of this type before.
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against the City of Tucson, or the state government of Arizona, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.