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What to Do in an Accident With a Government Vehicle

Published July 20, 2018 by The Law Offices of John Drew Warlick, P.A.

Traffic accidents happen every day to all types of people. Some are more susceptible to collisions than others, such as bikers, due to the nature of their vehicles. Also, passenger cars are most prevalent on the road, giving them the highest crash rate out of all vehicle (and nonvehicle) types in North Carolina, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

However, that does not mean that accidents do not occur with other types of drivers. For example, here in the Jacksonville area, you may get into an accident with a government vehicle. What do you do in this case?

Local Government

Normally, when you get into a crash, you pursue an insurance claim with your insurer and sue the other driver for additional compensation. When the government is involved, you sue the entity instead of the driver if negligence and not malicious intent was the cause. This applies to the following parties:

  • Public transportation, such as city buses
  • Garbage trucks
  • Maintenance vehicles

You can also sue the local government when poor road conditions, such as damaged roads or missing signs, led to the accident. To begin the claim, file a notice with the State Industrial Commission.


When the government entity involved is the military, the rules are different. You sue the U.S. itself, not the driver or military branch, through the Federal Tort Claims Act. You also have less time to file a claim. The process is complex, sensitive and dependent on the specific circumstances of the incident, necessitating the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure proper action and help prevent obstacles.

No matter who you get into an accident with, some steps remain the same. Always document the accident through police reports and photos. Seek medical treatment right away and notify your insurance company, though do not make a statement until you have spoken to your attorney first.

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