Can You Sue the Government in Utah for Car Accidents Caused by Road Hazards?
As a motorist, you have the right to expect the roads in Utah to be safe for driving. You don’t expect for road debris and dangerous road conditions to increase your risk of an accident. Unfortunately, road hazards cause more accidents each year than most people realize. When a driver is injured because of a car accident caused by dangerous conditions, that driver may have a claim against the government agency or entity responsible for maintaining the road.
In Utah, you can file a lawsuit against the government for injuries sustained in an accident if you can prove the agency was negligence. However, there are different rules that apply to government lawsuits. You must understand these laws and rules, or you need someone who does to work for you.
What Can A Utah Attorney do for You?
Our Utah car accident attorneys understand the complex nature of filing lawsuits against government entities. We can prepare the notices and documents required when you are dealing with a government agency. Instead of trying to learn the complicated laws related to sovereign immunity and government noticing requirements, let our attorneys handle it for you.
Are There Deadlines for Filing Claims Against the State?
Yes, there are different deadlines for filing claims against the state or another government department. In most personal injury cases, you have up to four years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. However, if the state or another government agency is involved, you only have one year from the car crash to file your lawsuit. Because you have a shorter time period to file a claim, you want your attorney to begin working on the case as soon as possible.
In addition to shorter deadlines, there are strict guidelines for what must be included in the notice of claim. Idaho Code §63G-7-401 describes in detail the information that must be included in the notice. You must include a statement of facts, the nature of the claim, an explanation of the damages, and the name of any employee that is party to the claim. In addition, the statute sets forth who must be served with a notice of it to be effective.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
Sovereign immunity is what protects the government from being sued by an individual. Governments pass laws that exempt them from claims, including personal injury claims. However, there are exemptions to immunity. Idaho Code §63G-7-301 sets forth the waivers of immunity for actions against a governmental entity. Subsection 2(h)(i) waives exemption for an injury caused by an unsafe, defective, or dangerous condition on a street, highway, and road.
Even though you can sue a governmental entity for injuries caused by a hazardous road condition, the amount you can recover is limited by statute. The statute limits judgments against a government agency at $583,900 for personal injury and $233,600 for property damage. The aggregate cap for any one incident is $2,000,000. The statute does permit for these numbers to be adjusted periodically.
The above is a brief summary. We urge you to contact our Utah car accident attorney for further information and to discuss the details of your case. There could be factors in your case that change the general rules governing claims and lawsuits against governmental entities.