Road accidents could happen, no matter how careful you may be. While most incidents occur when you’re on the move, some could appear out of nowhere and damage your car that’s parked on the roadside.
Your vehicle can get damaged in many ways. For instance, debris from a garbage truck can fall off and hit your car. Additionally, a truck driver can miscalculate and inadvertently hit your car while maneuvering in and out of narrow alleys. If you get entangled in such a situation, check here for more information.
How Is Being Hit By A Garbage Truck Any Different?
A garbage truck is considered property of the local government. This means you’ll be dealing with the authorities and not with a private entity when dealing with garbage truck accidents. Thus, there’s an added layer of procedure involved.
Governments have extra rights afforded to them such as limitations on how long you can file a case against them. The filing of claims ranges from three months to two years, so you have to act fast if you want your complaint to push through.
If you have claims concerning the local government, you’d have to seek the proper offices involved. In some states, you’d have to deal with the Bureau of Law and Adjustment and file the claim as soon as possible. Be mindful of the statute of limitations for property damages and claims. Filing past the prescription period will void your claims and you won’t get anything.
Getting injured alongside the car’s physical damages may qualify you to claim for physical injury damages, but with slight changes. Again, you can’t immediately file personal injury claims before any court as in some cases and depending on specific circumstances, the person driving the garbage truck may be immune to specific lawsuits.
For instance, if the government vehicle that inadvertently inflicted damages to your asset is classified as an emergency vehicle—for instance, police, ambulance, or fire truck—they may have legal immunity, making it challenging to file your claim.
Considerations When Your Car Gets Damaged By A Garbage Truck
Fortunately, a garbage truck is categorized as a non-emergency government vehicle, and it may be easier to get compensated. Here are some things you should consider:
1. Record The Details Of The Garbage Truck
As with other vehicular accidents, you’d need to document the damages incurred by your vehicle and the government-owned garbage truck. It’s as if you’re preparing to file a claim from your car insurance provider.
If the garbage truck is still within the vicinity, take note of the distinguishing details such as license plate number, make, model, and color. If possible, take the name of the driver and other driver’s license information such as address and place of issuance. Also, take the garbage truck’s insurance details.
2. Gather Evidence Of The Accident Scene
To properly back up your claim, take photos of the scene as proof. Make sure to capture the damages incurred by your car at all angles, ideally with the garbage truck close by.
If you’re not present when the mishap took place, look for someone who can attest to the accuracy of your claim. If not, check if there are security cameras within the vicinity and seek permission from the owner for a copy of the video footage.
3. Report The Incident To The Police
A police report is important when filing your claim. The police personnel are mandated to investigate when an incident is reported, and their findings will be used as a basis in filing your claim. If you didn’t manage to interview persons who witnessed the crash, the police may be able to do so.
4. Inform Your Insurance Service Provider
You can inform your insurance provider about the collision and ask for advice. Depending on the extent and nature of the damage as well as the type of coverage you have, you may have to spend a few hundred dollars for repair. At times, your repair costs may be covered by your insurance.
Make sure you know your deductibles so you can compare the estimated repair costs. If your deductible costs are higher than the repair cost, it may be better to pay for the car makeover from your pocket. And as car policies are different, it’s possible the damages incurred by your vehicle won’t be covered by your provider.
If you have a comprehensive insurance, the incident involving damages to your parked car may be covered.
5. Talk To A Lawyer Right Away
Because of the statute of limitations for property damage and small claims covering government entities, you need to act swiftly. Choose the right personal injury attorney to provide legal advice and to assist in filing your claims.
A competent lawyer can help you go through the complex legal processes involved in filing claims against a government entity.
6. File Your Claim As Soon As Possible
Protect your legal rights by filing your claim as soon as possible. As earlier mentioned, there are different statutes of limitation for every state, so you need to act early.
Claims against a local government entity are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act. Under the law, the complainant should prove negligence on the part of the government employee in causing the car accident. Most of these claims possess a two-year statute of limitations.
For this, you need to prepare your basic information and that of the other party. Apart from conveying your account of the car collision, you’d have to check whether all your documents are in order. Prepare copies of the photos, police report, and eyewitness accounts as well as their names and contact numbers. You also need to support your claims with bills covering your medical and repair costs.
You’ll have to file a Standard Form 95 that’s applicable when claiming damages, deaths, and injuries. The government is expected to come up with a decision on your claim within six months upon submission. If the government decides to refuse your claim, you’d have to file a federal claim within half a year as well.
Final Things To Consider
Car accident claims are complicated on their own, more so if a government vehicle and employee are both involved. However, it shouldn’t prevent you from upholding your rights. But be sure to gather all the evidence to prove negligence on the government employee’s part.
To help you navigate through the complex web of filing claims, motions, appeals, and other legal actions, you need the support of a seasoned car accident attorney.