At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we help car crash victims fight for the recovery they need to get well. If you were hit by a city vehicle, call our Delaware injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation in Wilmington, New Castle, or Seaford.
Finding yourself in an accident with another vehicle can be a real headache. However, your headache may grow worse when you discover the other vehicle is owned by the city. Even with that piece of information, you do have the right to recover compensation from City Hall. Regardless of whether your accident occurred with a police car, a garbage truck, or while traveling in a city-owned mass transit vehicle, you do have options. For starters, it is important to know how to proceed with a claim when a local government vehicle played a part in your injury.
Here are some steps to take toward a successful claim when injured on or by a city vehicle.
Obtain a police report of the incident
Many car crashes occur with the police eventually involved in one way or the other. Therefore, a police report may be available. You should obtain a copy of this report as soon as possible. The report should include:
- The parties to the accident, including their names and contact information
- The police’s description of the events related to the accident from start to finish
Regardless of whether you were in a wreck with a police car or another government owned vehicle, the police will still provide you with a copy of the report. This report may be an invaluable asset in proving your case for injury compensation.
Confirm the liable party is the city and not a private entity
At first glance, you may assume the other vehicle(s) involved in your accident are owned or operated by the city, or possibly the state government. However, sometimes entities may be government subsidized, but actually private companies. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether the garbage truck, for example, that hit you was city or privately owned.
Sometimes it is also necessary to contact the driver of the vehicle to determine what entity operates the vehicle. This information may not be apparent at the outset in the aftermath of the crash. This is why it is important to exchange information with the other driver immediately after the accident, regardless of the type of vehicle involved.
File a claim for damages through appropriate channels
Even if you have a legitimate claim against the city for damages in your crash, you may need to go through an administrative claim process with the local government before you can file suit in civil court. One of the city government’s legal teams will then evaluate your claim. The process can take several months. If your claim is rejected, do not be surprised. After the rejection, you can move forward to sue to recover damages.
Even if a bus is owned by a city or state government, they may not be protected by sovereign immunity if negligence can be proven on the part of the driver or the governmental agency – for instance if they have not maintained their buses properly.
Get your evidence organized and prepared
In dealing with the government, it is important to have all your evidence lined up in an organized manner, including paperwork, photographs, video evidence, bills, etc. This will help ensure your claim is not dismissed, or at least is taken seriously as the process moves forward.
Of course, an experienced car or truck accident attorney can help you with the entire process of filing a claim against the city when one of its drivers is at-fault for your injuries.
At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman we can help you secure your rights in pursuit of the compensation you are owed if you have sustained an injury in a car crash with a government owned vehicle. To set up a free case evaluation and consultation, give us a call today at 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form. We serve the Wilmington, Seaford, New Castle areas, including the entire state of Delaware.