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Who Is Liable If You’re Hit by a Government Vehicle in Arizona?

Posted on October 31, 2022 in

If you are involved in a car accident, you will probably be confused about your legal rights and options. This situation can become exponentially more complicated if the accident involves a government vehicle. The dedicated Scottsdale personal injury lawyers at Stone Rose Law have decades of experience and have recovered over $100 million in compensation for our deserving clients. To find out how we can help with your accident involving a government vehicle in Arizona, contact us online or by call us at (480) 428-2697. We are available 24/7. 

Common Arizona Government Vehicles Involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Arizona has many local, state, and federal agencies that operate their own vehicles. Vehicles that may be owned and maintained by the government may include:

  • Mail trucks
  • City buses
  • School buses
  • Dump trucks
  • Road department vehicles
  • Emergency response vehicles 

To obtain compensation from the governmental entity responsible for the accident, you will have to show which agency owns the vehicle and that the driver of that vehicle was at fault for the accident. Depending on the circumstances, you may also need to show the government worker was working within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.  

Accident Claims Involving Government Vehicles vs. Other Claims 

Some of the reasons why claims involving government vehicles are more complicated than other types of motor vehicle accidents include:

Government Immunity May Be Involved

Sovereign immunity protects the government from civil lawsuits. The Federal Tort Claims Act applies to lawsuits against the federal government while the Arizona Tort Claims Act governs claims against the state. Immunity does not apply in all situations. For example, if a government employee acted negligently and caused your injury, the government may be responsible for the harm the government employee harmed if the government employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. Otherwise, you may have to pursue a claim against the government worker individually. 

Administrative Claims Are Necessary

Another complicating factor involved in cases involving government vehicles is that you must usually prepare an administrative claim and give notice to the government before you attempt to seek recourse through the courts. There is usually much less time to file an administrative claim than a lawsuit. For example, you must file an administrative claim against the State of Arizona within 180 days of the accident. In contrast, the statute of limitations in Arizona for other types of motor vehicle accidents is generally two years. 

You must also wait after you file your administrative claim for the government to decide to reject or accept your claim. If the government rejects your claim or only offers partial payment, only then can you file suit. 

These unique characteristics add an extra layer of complexity to personal injury claims because you must show you have followed the administrative requirements, immunity does not apply, and the government bears the financial responsibility for the accident. 

Contact Stone Rose Law for Help with Your Claim 

If you were involved in a car accident involving a government vehicle in Arizona, turn to the experienced Scottsdale car accident lawyers with Stone Rose Law. We can explain your legal rights and options during a free, no-obligation consultation. You can get started by contacting us online or by calling us at (480) 428-2697.