When Might the Government Be Liable for a Car Accident?

If you were hurt in a car accident, it’s important that your attorney’s investigation is conducted right away. Essential evidence may be time-sensitive, and there are strict deadlines for filing tort lawsuits. The deadline for taking legal action is usually shorter if the defendant is a government entity.

In Mississippi, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits arising from negligence is three years. Those who wish to sue a government entity, however, have just one year to commence the proceedings. What’s more, they must notify the appropriate agency at least 90 days before filing their suit.

Although most car accident claims are brought against negligent motorists, there are many circumstances when a government entity could be liable. This may apply to your case if the crash was caused by one of the following:

1. Maintained Roads

City, state, and federal agencies that are tasked with maintaining the roads must do so to a reasonable standard. For instance, their duties may include patching potholes, putting up guardrails, filling soft shoulders, and painting lines. If you were hurt in a wreck caused by hazardous road conditions, a resourceful personal injury attorney can help you determine whether a government agency might be liable for the resulting damages.

2. Inadequate Signage or Malfunctioning Traffic Signals

Roads can be incredibly dangerous when traffic signs aren’t installed where they’re needed or stoplights don’t work properly. Failing to address a defective light or to install adequate warning signs may constitute negligence on the part of the government agency that is responsible for doing so.

3. Negligent Government Employees

When driving an official vehicle, government employees are obligated to follow the rules of the road. Except where their duties demand otherwise, they must obey all state and federal traffic laws.

If you were struck by a government official who was acting within the scope of his or her employment, you would likely have grounds for a claim against the agency that employed him or her. If, on the other, you were struck by a government employee who was off duty at the time, you would likely file a third-party claim with his or her personal auto insurer.

What Kinds of Damages Can I Seek from a Government Agency?

If you were hurt in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of a government entity or employee, you may be able to collect both economic and non-economic damages including medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. These compensatory damages are capped at $500,000. The state will not pay punitive damages, even if such an award would have been warranted had the defendant been a private citizen or business.

Call (601) 265-7766 to Discuss Your Case with a Jackson Car Accident Attorney

If you were hurt in a motor-vehicle collision through no fault of your own, let us handle the logistics of your case so you can focus on your health. Call (601) 265-7766 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a consultation with a car accident lawyer in Jackson.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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