But what if … ?

Feb. 15th, 2013   /   , , , ,

 

At the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green, we hear about a great many “but what if…” questions, so we decided to, here in a blog, answer some common ones that you, a loved one, or a friend may have. These questions—and they are surely not a comprehensive list—are born from curiosity relating to the accident and sometimes fear in the aftermath of the accident.

But what if they didn’t mean to hit me with their car?

This is a question that people ask very often. Nobody (with the exception of a few wackos out there) means to hit you with his or her car—accidents are called accidents for a reason! If the person hit you intentionally, it would be a criminal action, and the case would also be tried in criminal court. The fact is, most car accidents happen because of carelessness and inattention rather than intent and malice. That said, they don’t happen randomly—they happen because people, regardless of how nice they are, choose (for whatever reasons) to text message, speed, eat while driving etc., all of which raises the likelihood that someone will get into a car accident. Just because they didn’t intend to hit you with your car and cause damage doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about seeking compensation for your losses. Justice isn’t a malicious or “mean” thing; it’s the “right” thing.

But what if the car that hit me was owned by the federal government?

This is a good one—and plays on a common fear that if somebody is hurt by a large entity, such as a corporation or the federal government, then the injured individual has no recourse. The fact is, while the law may be implemented and designed by the government, it can also be used against an extension of the government when you’ve been wronged by that extension of the government! According to the Federal Tort Claims Act, you are allowed to file a lawsuit against the federal government when a federal employee has acted negligently or wrongly in their capacity as a federal employee (i.e., while on the job, not while taking their child to the park on Sunday). Before filing the lawsuit, there is a special form that needs to be filled out (stating the claim), and officially submitted to the government within two years of the accident. If the claim is denied, you then have six months during which to file a lawsuit against the federal government in U.S. District Court. In essence, while the process varies a bit, the theories and law are all the same.

There are similar procedures one must follow if a negligence case is against any type of governmental agency such as the City, Town, Police, etc.

But what if I know exactly what happened? Why would I need a lawyer?

Knowing what happened is crucial—you’re a star witness. That said, having a lawyer on your side gives you the benefit of experience and objectivity. Even if you yourself are an attorney, you are very much in the middle of the facts in the case and thus you are unable to remove yourself and look at the case purely objectively, from a solely fact-based and legal-based perspective. We have 45 years of combined experience that can help you prove your case. We know how the process goes, we know how the interactions with opposing attorneys and the involved insurance companies should go, and, most importantly of all, we know how to apply the law.

Please remember that each case has its own extenuating circumstances and that this blog should be understood as general knowledge rather than specific legal advice. Additionally, relating to the issue of government-owned vehicles, each state has different rules for filing a claim and/or lawsuit after being struck by a vehicle owned by that state.

For specific information on any of these issues, or any others, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg for a free consultation at 561-266-9191 or at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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