Can I Sue the Government for Car Accidents Caused by Road Hazards?
Were you injured in a car accident caused by road hazards? If so, a Georgia government agency, including state, county, and local entities, may be responsible for your damages. Government entities are required to build and maintain roads that are safe for motorists and others to use. When a road hazard causes a car crash, a government entity may be liable.
You can sue the government, but you must prove it was negligent and that negligence caused your accident. You may find this task overwhelming, but our attorneys handle car accident claims like this every day. We investigate your accident for you and compile the evidence needed to prove the government is responsible while you focus on your recovery. Our legal team also monitors important deadlines that could end your claim if you failed to act before the expiration of the deadline.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim Against Government Agencies?
Your time to file a car accident lawsuit is restricted by Georgia’s statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit against a third party. However, when a government entity is involved, you are required to take an additional step to protect your right to sue the government.
A notice of claim must be sent to the agency you are alleging is responsible for the road hazard that caused your accident. If you fail to send a notice of claim before the deadline, you cannot file a lawsuit.
Notice requirements in Georgia are:
- Claims Against the State of Georgia
- Claims Against Counties in Georgia
- Claims Against Cities in Georgia
You must send a written notice by certified mail or personal delivery within 12 months of your injury date. If the notice is mailed, attach a request for a return receipt, so you have proof the state RECEIVED your notice BEFORE the deadline expires. When the notice is personally delivered, you should obtain a receipt proving the state RECEIVED the notice BEFORE the deadline.
Claim notices for motor vehicle accidents against the state should be directed to the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services. The office is located at 200 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 1208, West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. Always contact the office to verify the correct delivery address in case the information changes. The office number is 404-656-6245.
If your claim is against a county, you must notify the county in writing within 12 months of your accident date. You should contact the county office to obtain the address to use for the notice to ensure your notice is RECEIVED by the correct department BEFORE the deadline expires. A list of county offices can be found on the GeorgiaGov website.
The deadline to file a notice of claim against a city is shorter than for the state or counties. You only have six months from the accident date to send notice to a city for your claim. Again, a notice must be RECEIVED BEFORE expiration of the deadline. GeorgiaGov also has a list of cities and their contact information on the website.
What Should I Include in My Claim Notice?
The best way to protect your right to sue the government is to contact the government entity you intend to sue to inquire about the information to include in the claim notice. For example, cities in Georgia require that you include an explanation of the alleged negligence that caused your accident. Each county and city may have specific information you must include in the notice for the notice to be valid.
In most cases, you must include basic information such as:
- Your name and address
- The location of your accident
- Date and time of the collision
- An explanation of your injuries
- A summary of alleged negligence committed by the city, state, or county that caused your motor vehicle accident
What is Negligence?
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent an injury to another person. To be successful and receive compensation for your damages, you must prove the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care — The government owed a legal duty of care to provide safe roads
- Failure of Duty — The agency failed in its duty of care by failing to act to correct a road hazard or dangerous condition
- Cause — The government’s breach (its action or inaction) caused the accident
- Damages — Because of the accident, you suffered damages (i.e. physical injuries, medical bills, lost wages, emotional stress, etc.).
Proving negligence can be a complex undertaking. Instead of putting additional stress on you and your family by attempting to fight the state for the compensation you deserve, allow us to fight for you.