When You Can and Can’t Sue the Government After a Crash
The government is inherently afforded a certain degree of immunity in the context of civil infractions, but this immunity is far from absolute. As such, you can usually sue if your Arizona auto accident was caused by a government entity, provided that you weren’t negligent yourself and they didn’t act in accordance with standard procedures.
Qualified Immunity for Government Entities
Arizona’s qualified immunity laws provide immunity to public workers and entities in a variety of circumstances, but in the context of auto accidents, the most important portion of these laws is section 7, which states that public employees are not liable for “an injury to the driver of a motor vehicle that is attributable to the violation by the driver of section 28-693, 28-1381 or 28-1382.” These cited sections cover the following violations:
- A.R.S. 28-693, which pertains to drivers who act with particular recklessness and lack of care for the safety of others and their property
- A.R.S. 28-1381 & 28-1382, which covers drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol to any extent (minor violations and extreme violations, respectively)
Of course, these immunities are only applicable if the employee or government entity in question was acting within the scope of their responsibilities, and didn’t intentionally try to harm someone or act with extreme negligence.
Furthermore, if the employee in question was acting outside the scope of their employment, the government would no longer be liable; instead, the employee would be at fault, and you’d be able to sue them for compensation.
How the Government Can Be At Fault
As demonstrated, the immunities that the government enjoys are overall limited and have more to do with the injured driver’s recklessness than anything. As such, if you were acting responsibly, but were nonetheless injured by a government entity or employee’s work, you’re likely eligible for compensation for all of your accident-related damages.
If the government is indeed at fault, you need to act fast. While the statute of limitations for filing a claim against the federal government is a standard two years, you’ll only have 180 days after the car accident to file a claim against the state of Arizona, which must include:
- A general overview of the accident, citing the agency responsible and how the accident occurred
- How your injuries were sustained and caused by the accident; there must be evidence linking the two together
- A precise dollar amount representing your damages, which needs to be accurately calculated
- Evidence which proves that said dollar amount is accurate, such as medical bills and estimates
How Arizona Accident Attorneys Can Help
Arizona’s government is generally extremely adept at defending their cases, as they have extensive legal resources, professionals, and finances available to them. Hiring a particularly adept Arizona auto accident attorney is the only way to level the playing field, as they can better calculate your damages, help gather comprehensive evidence, and then exert enough pressure to force the government to admit some degree of fault. If you got into a crash as a result of the government of Arizona’s negligence, schedule a free consultation today by contacting us at (623) 877-3600.