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Pursuing injury claims against the government can be complex

When injured in a truck accident, there can be many aspects of the legal process to consider when seeking compensation for damages caused by the crash.

The West Virginia Department of Corrections is being sued by a man who was injured in a car accident with one of its employees. The car accident occurred when the state employee ran a stop sign and accompanying flashing caution lights and eventually collided with the plaintiff's dump truck, which was loaded with gravel.

The plaintiff claims that the corrections officer employee, who passed away in the accident, was acting within the scope of his employment for the department when the accident occurred. The accident caused the plaintiff's dump truck to overturn and erupt in flames. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries and wishes to recover medical expenses and lost wages.

For those injured in a truck accident, damages may be available to compensate the injured party for physical, emotional and financial damages. More specifically, these include compensation for injuries, as well as lost earnings, diminished earning capacity, emotional distress, pain and suffering.

Employers may be liable for the negligent actions of their employees if they exercised the requisite amount of control over the employee and the at-fault employee injured someone within the scope of his or her employment.

Although the legal principle that holds an employer responsible for the negligence of an employee is firmly rooted, state governments enjoy sovereign immunity from suit. Many states have enacted tort claims acts, however, that limit government immunity in certain circumstances, such as the negligence of its employees. Under these laws, the injured party seeking to sue the government sovereign must file a "notice of claim" prior to filing suit. The deadline to file a notice of claim can be a relatively short period of time. Following the filing of the notice, the government entity will either accept or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, the filing party is free to pursue the intended legal action to recover damages.

Filing a lawsuit against a government entity following a truck accident can be complicated. Despite potential hurdles, a successful claim can provide injured drivers with the financial relief they need to move through their recovery.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Lewis County man sues WVDOC over car accident," Kyla Asbury, Nov. 7, 2012

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