In the Washington, D.C. area, it is not uncommon to see government workers conducting official business while out on the road. Inevitably, government workers – like other drivers – will get involved in motor vehicle accidents. In these situations, the question often arises of when an accident victim can hold the government responsible for the actions of an employee.
As a general rule, state and federal governments cannot be sued without their consent. However, almost all states – as well as the federal government – have passed a series of laws that explain when a government will agree to be sued. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the federal government waives its immunity in cases involving personal injuries caused by employees under certain circumstances.
In order for immunity to be waived, an accident victim must show that the government employee was engaging in a ministerial task that was within the course of their employment when the injury occurred. This can be broken down into two elements:
- First, whether the employee was acting as a government employee at the time of the accident; and
- Second, whether the allegedly negligent act was discretionary or ministerial.
Many personal injury cases in this area focus on whether the allegedly negligent act was ministerial in nature. Ministerial acts are those that do not involve the exercise of discretion and are carried out by government employees on a routine basis.
Government Employee Cited after Motorcycle Accident
Earlier this month, an accident in Texas between a government-owned pick-up truck and a motorcycle left one woman seriously injured and another with minor injuries. According to a local news report covering the accident, a water utility vehicle was heading north on the highway when it failed to yield the right-of-way after stopping at a stop sign. The west-bound motorcycle collided with the utility truck, and both motorcyclists were thrown from the bike.
The driver of the motorcycle was rushed to a nearby hospital before she was flown to a second hospital for additional treatment. She was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident but is in stable condition. The passenger was wearing a helmet and sustained minor injuries, declining medical treatment. After police arrived, they issued a citation to the government employee for failing to yield the right-of-way at a stop sign.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland or Washington, D.C. Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland or Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may be entitled to compensation from multiple parties, including the employer of the at-fault motorist. To learn more about Maryland motorcycle accidents, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Determining Fault in Maryland Motorcycle Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published June 27, 2017.
Motorcycle Accidents Involving Government Employees, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published June 6, 2017.