How to seek damages from a government entity
As you might guess, if you suffer an accident that involves a government vehicle, and if you sustain motorcycle accident injuries, NJ state (and Federal) laws make it more difficult for you to recover damages than if the accident involved a vehicle owned by a private citizen.
To clarify, in most cases where a plaintiff suffers motorcycle accident injuries, NJ statute and federal law entitles you to attempt recovery of medical expenses, property damage (to your bike, for example), lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
However, in instances involving government officials or vehicles (police officers, mail carriers, city landscape trucks and the like) government immunity laws make the threshold for proving responsibility higher than in standard accident claims. A qualified NJ motorcycle accident attorney can help you navigate this legal landscape.
A law with unintended consequences
The laws put in place to protect the government and its employees from being frivolously sued are collectively known as sovereign immunity, and they help to keep the machinery of government operating as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Unfortunately, while they serve this valuable function, the unintended consequences make it more difficult to hold government agents or officials accountable for their actions or their failure to act.
One of the exceptions to sovereign immunity laws include vehicle liability. The pertinent example for our discussion is motorcycle accident injuries.
NJ bikers who are injured in non-emergency situations – for example if the governor’s chief of staff backs over you and your bike with his official SUV, you may have a relatively favorable chance of filing a successful claim if you carefully follow the rules set forth by the agency in question.
Rules for seeking compensation for NJ motorcycle accident injuries
In 1972 New Jersey adopted the Tort Claims Act, which established the framework for filing a claim against governmental entities in our state. The rules include:
- Specific Notice of Claim documentation is required to begin the process.
- You have 90 days from the day of the accident to file the required paperwork.
- You are required to settle physical damage claims with your insurance carrier if possible (physical damages awards will be deducted from your claim).
- You are required to accurately calculate the dollar amount of damages you seek.
Suggestions for improving your odds of success
- Retain a qualified attorney to help ensure that all damages are accounted for, and that all paperwork is filed completely, and correctly.
- Timeliness is critical. As your attorney, I will assume responsibility for meeting submission deadlines.
- Speak with NJ motorcycle lawyer Lee Gaber without delay after your accident.
As with any claim, recording the accident is as much detail as possible is key to establishing the liability of the defendant. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you in reconstructing exactly what happened and why, and in presenting these facts as persuasively as possible.
Remember, failure to follow the rules laid out above will absolutely disqualify you from damage recovery from your motorcycle accident injuries. Furthermore failure to follow these suggestions will make it significantly more difficult to recover the damages to which you are entitled.
But remember, you don’t have to do it alone. As a motorcycle lawyer who actually rides, I understand the unique challenges you will face in this circumstance, and I am ready to stand with you to protect your rights and to hold your government accountable.
Call Lee D. Gaber, Esquire – The Cycle Attorney – at 1-888-cycle-law today to schedule your free NJ or PA consultation.