If you suffer property damage or injuries in an Atlanta car accident, you have a very fair chance of recovering compensatory damages. These damages are typically recoverable from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This is because Georgia is an at-fault state.
However, when a government vehicle or employee is involved in the crash that caused your losses, things can become a lot more complicated. This is because a different set of laws apply when you want to hold a government entity liable for crash-related losses. Here is a look at the laws and regulations that are applicable when you intend to bring a car crash claim against a government entity.
The Notice Period and Statute of Limitations
A government entity may be an agency or employee at the federal, state, county, or city level. The standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia is two years. This means that a claim for damages must be filed within two years from the date of injury. This statute remains the same in claims involving government entities as well.
However, you must meet an additional requirement when filing a claim involving a government entity. You are required to present a notice of your claim to the relevant agency before you actually file the claim.
The notice period is 12 months when you intend to bring a claim against the county or state government. If a claim is to be brought against a local city or municipality entity, you must present a notice of it within 6 months from the date of injury.
This notice must be presented in writing, including your version of the accident, the parties involved in the crash, and an overview of your losses. In addition, you must also provide a precise estimate of the amount of damages you are claiming. The relevant agency then conducts an internal investigation to check and verify the facts, and see if you have a valid claim. The agency may then accept or reject your claim.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Entity
If an agency turns down your claim, you have the option of filing a lawsuit. However, you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against any federal, state, county, or city agency. The “sovereign immunity” principle protects a number of state entities from being sued.
But you can generally bring a lawsuit on the basis of the negligence of an individual employee of a given government agency. This is made possible thanks to the Georgia Tort Claims Act, which provides for many exceptions to sovereign immunity.
The timeline for filing a lawsuit is the same as for regular personal injury lawsuits involving non-government entities. You have two years from the date of the injury to file the lawsuit.
It is important to note that when you sue for damages in a crash caused by a government employee, the entity for which the employee works is named in the lawsuit, and not the employee as an individual. This provides protection to government employees while creating a more streamlined way of settling personal injury claims involving government entities.
Damages Caps in Claims Against State
In car crash claims brought against non-government drivers, there are no caps on what the maximum amount of damages can be. This aspect of a personal injury claim is also notably different when the claim involves a government entity.
If you are seeking compensatory damages from a government entity in a personal injury lawsuit, there is a maximum cap on damages. You can recover a maximum of $1,000,000 per person for losses sustained in a crash. If multiple persons suffered losses, the total damages awarded to all the plaintiffs can’t be more than $3,000,000.
Hiring a Reliable Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
When you are filing a car crash claim against a state entity, you need professional legal help. This is because a claim like this can become very complicated. You must meet various time limits, provide relevant evidence, and communicate with government entities unwilling to cooperate with you. A good lawyer on your side can help you speed up the process and avoid unnecessary delays.
Here at the Greene Legal Group, we handle car accident claims with the aim of maximizing the amount of compensatory damages for the victims. Whether your claim is to be filed against a regular driver or a government entity, we can help you. Call us today to discuss your claim with our experienced lawyers.