Being injured in a motor vehicle accident, due to the negligence of another driver, is a frustrating experience. In addition to the physical pain you suffer, you may also have financial difficulties. Generally, you’re allowed to sue the negligent party so that you can be made whole again – but what if the other driver works for the government?
The doctrine of sovereign immunity
New Jersey gives you the right to file a lawsuit against another party when their negligence causes you injury. However, when it comes to New Jersey government agencies or entities, they are usually protected from civil liability by what’s known as sovereign immunity. This is a very old doctrine, which states that a government cannot be sued without its consent.
New Jersey addresses the sovereign immunity doctrine, and provides exceptions for it, in the Torts Claim Act. In it, New Jersey waives immunity from civil claims in cases where a government employee negligently causes a motor vehicle accident. The employee must be acting within the course of their employment for the Act’s provisions to be implicated.
There are limitations
Normally, when you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey, you have two years in which to do so. But the Torts Claim Act places a much earlier restriction on such claims. Anyone who intends to file a suit, seeking compensation from a car accident, must provide notice to the responsible public entity within 90 days. If you do not, you risk losing your right to make the claim entirely.
Dealing with a government agency can be far more complicated – there is little room for error. To ensure that your rights are protected, seek the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in handling New Jersey personal injury lawsuits.