Car Accidents Caused by Public Entities in NJ

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a government body or public entity, you have the legal right to recover compensation for your losses. However, crash claims involving local, county, municipal, or state agencies are more complicated than lawsuits against private parties. 

Common types of government agencies or public entities that could be liable for a car accident include: 

  • New Jersey buses, trains, and other forms of transit 

  • State and county sheriff’s departments and police departments 

  • Local highway patrol 

  • Government employees and vehicles 

  • New Jersey Department of Transportation and county road crews 

  • Public school employees and vehicles 

According to Title 59 of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, government and public agencies are granted “sovereign immunity,” protecting these entities from lawsuits based on negligence. However, public entities can be held responsible for injuries an employee causes while performing his/her job duties or injuries caused by a dangerous property condition on government property—including poorly maintained public highways—and the agency was notified but failed to fix the condition or warn visitors. 

Keep in mind, damages from an accident caused by a public entity are limited by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act in several ways. For example, under Section 59:9-2(e), the amount you receive or could receive from your insurance coverage will be deducted from any award or settlement from the agency. 

Additionally, under Section 59:9-2(d), you cannot recover damages for pain and suffering unless you suffered a permanent disfigurement, dismemberment, or disability and the medical expenses total to more than $3,600. Even if you fail to meet this requirement, you can still recover economic damages, such as hospital bills, lost wages, and property damage. 

If you believe you have a claim against the government, you must file a notice under the Torts Claims within 90 days from the date of your accident. On the notice, you must include your name, your address, the details of the accident (including time and location), the names of any public employees involved, the monetary amount of your injuries and losses. 

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a government or public agency in New Jersey, contact our Woodbridge legal team at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. today at (732) 709-4400 for a free initial consultation. We have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements! 

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