The state of Connecticut owns a fleet of motor vehicles for the official use if its employees in the performance of their employment. If you are involved in a car accident with one of these vehicles, and the driver of the state-owned vehicle is at least partially at fault, what effect does government ownership of the other vehicle have on your legal right to file a lawsuit for money damages?
In some respects it can be difficult to sue the state government because the doctrine of sovereign immunity can act to bar legal claims against it. This doctrine is known as “sovereign immunity.” Fortunately, though, a statute exists that allows people who have been injured or whose property has been damaged in an accident with a state-owned vehicle to file a civil lawsuit, so sovereign immunity does not apply under these circumstances.
Negligence on the part of a state employee with regard to a vehicle includes almost any activity. It can take place in a parking lot. It can happen when the driver has parked the vehicle on the side of the road and has left it. It can certainly happen while the vehicle is traveling on a road. As long as negligent behavior is involved, then the state law will generally permit a civil lawsuit. If you can prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, you can prevail.
Your right to file a lawsuit based on the negligent operation of a state-owned motor vehicle is still subject to some limitations. First of all, you must include the state as a party defendant in the lawsuit. Filing suit against the driver alone will not necessarily invoke liability on the part of the state government. Also, the state has not waived sovereign immunity when it comes to post-judgment interest on a damages award.
If you have been involved in an accident with a state-owned vehicle, and you believe that the operator of that vehicle was in any way negligent leading up to the accident, a personal injury attorney can help you to understand your legal rights under Connecticut law to recover appropriate compensation for the damages to your person and to your property.