Filing an injury claim after getting into a car accident is inconvenient enough. But if you’re involved in an accident with a government vehicle, the process is even more stressful, with tighter deadlines and stricter requirements. When you factor in the number of government employees and vehicles on the road—police officers, mail trucks, utility workers—it’s not uncommon to eventually have an accident with one.
Injury Claims Involving Government Vehicles
After seeking medical attention, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re able. In Georgia, there are procedural and legal differences in the way claims are filed against government vehicles or drivers as opposed to regular citizens. Not only is the window to file a claim shorter, citizen drivers must follow a separate notice requirement, called an Ante Litem notice.
In an accident with a regular citizen, you’d have two years to file an injury claim. This two-year period is known as the “statute of limitations period.” Claims for accidents with vehicles owned by the city, county, or state government require Ante Litem notices, which have shorter filing deadlines. This is where an experienced attorney can mean the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and missing your chance at a case.
- Ante Litem notices against the state or county must be sent within 12 months.
- Ante Litem notices against a local city or municipality must be sent within 6 months.
Georgia’s Tort Claims Act
Georgia provides state entities and employees with a decent amount of statutory protection from negligence claims. This makes suing or seeking damages more difficult than regular personal injury cases. But Georgia’s Tort Claims Act leaves open several exceptions, including one for car or truck accidents caused by the negligence of a government employee.
The Act states that:
- The named defendant must not be the employee but the government entity, such as the Ware County Police Department or Georgia DOT.
- Lawsuits might be subject to limits on the amount of recovery, set at $1,000,000 per person and $3,000,000 in aggregate.
Vehicles that fall under this exception include utility trucks, fire & safety vehicles, and the various cars owned by county departments, such as parks and recreation.
Federal Tort Claims Act
One exclusion that’s on the road six days a week is United States Postal Service (USPS) vehicles. USPS delivery and mail trucks are classified as federal property and can’t be sued through Georgia law. Claimants have to follow federal regulations and guidelines to pursue a claim against negligent federal employees. It’s in your best interests to contact a personal injury attorney to guide you through this process.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney at The King Firm
If you or someone you love was injured in an accident with a government-owned vehicle, we can help you file an Ante Litem notice. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.