The Constraint of Sovereign Immunity

The Constraint of Sovereign Immunity


Accidents involving government vehicles are administered by the Federal Tort Claims Act. The government can only be sued when circumstances involve a private person who is found accountable to the claim according to the place where the act occurred.

Sovereign Immunity and Car Accidents

Vehicle liability is normally exempted from sovereign immunity. This happens when a government employee is involved in a car accident. Often these include emergency vehicles like police cars on a pursuit, fire trucks hurrying to a fire or ambulances rushing through to reach the hospital. It is possible that these cases do not take place in emergencies, for instance, a car being rear – ended by a government truck or public school bus.

The application of government immunity laws may vary depending on the state where the accident occurred. The point that must be exceeded to begin establishing the driver’s liability and fault is considerably higher when you are making claims against the government compared to what is needed in a normal accident case where the vehicle involved is owned by a private entity. Cases which involve emergency vehicles are more complex. The system naturally differs when circumstances include an actual emergency. However factors such as whether the emergency crews had employed measures to preserve the safety of the public (e.g. turning on the siren) are also considered.

How to Recover Damages

If you want to recover damages caused by a government employee, first you will have to file an administrative claim with the government entity. Majority of government entities give a victim very little time to carry out this action, typically between 30 – 180 days. After this period imposed, it will be impossible for you to get compensation for your losses. A number of government units provide claim forms which you can fill out and then submit to the agency liable for your accident. If the government will ask a settlement, make sure that you will receive an equitable amount. On the other hand, if your claim is denied you will be sent a letter, however you still have an option to sue the government in a law court. The letter will inform you the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.

Litigations against the government are typically more complex therefore it is very important to seek advice from a knowledgeable car accident attorney regarding this type of case.

This article is for information purposes only and not a legal advice.

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