When Can the Government Be Held Liable for a Car Crash?

Following a car crash, an injured party has the right to seek the necessary compensation and justice they deserve. This is especially the case when the accident was caused by another party’s negligence. However, people often don’t realize that they can even take action against the government/governmental entities. 

Unfortunately, the government also has greater protection when it comes to liability. Making a successful claim against the government can be complex and often requires the finesse of an attorney. We’ll break down some situations when the government might be held liable for a car crash. 

The Process of Proving Liability 

First, it’s important to understand the process of proving liability. Whether the other driver was a governmental worker, from a private trucking company, or another driver that maybe had one too many drinks, the process of proving liability is about the same. Ultimately, you’ll need three crucial elements: 

  • The at-fault party had a duty/responsibility 
  • The at-fault party failed this duty/responsibility 
  • This failure directly impacted the victim 

Accidents That Involve Government Vehicles 

The process of proving that a driver of a government vehicle is at-fault is about the same as with a commercial business. In both scenarios, if the driver is acting within the means of their employment when the accident occurs, the company or government entity will be held liable versus the employee themselves. Anytime a government employee breaches their duty of care, then they might be held liable. 

This is especially the case if there’s a clear link between the entity’s negligence and the accident. For example, a court will probably be less likely to pin a driver’s drunk driving on the government entity. 

However, an entity that overworks a driver to the point of exhaustion, doesn’t regularly maintain their vehicles, hasn’t provided adequate training, etc., then there’s a greater justification to hold such an entity responsible. 

Accidents Due to Poor Maintenance 

Not all accidents are the result of another driver’s negligence. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, crumbling infrastructure is a serious issue, and it’s the government’s duty to ensure that our public roads are properly maintained and marked. Some examples of poor road maintenance include: 

  • Potholes 
  • Erosion 
  • Roads filled with debris
  • Faulty designed road
  • Missing guardrails 
  • Poor/missing road signage

All these factors can either contribute to or solely cause a car crash. However, the process of proving that it’s the government’s fault can be difficult. 

  1. You’ll first have to establish what government entity should have been responsible for fixing any issues that might have caused the crash. 
  2. Next, you’ll have to establish that the government entity had plenty of time to act upon the issue. For example, if an eroded road or a road without signage had existed for quite some time. 
  3. Finally, you’ll need to prove that such a condition led to your accident. 

There are some situations where a government body can be held liable for a car crash. Proving this is the case, however, can be difficult and may require a car accident lawyer. Our friends at Therman Law Offices, LTD can assist!