When Is a Government Agency Liable for a Pennsylvania Car Accident?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
May 21, 2024
car on a bad road

Car accidents can be traumatic and life-changing events, especially when they involve complex factors such as government agency liability. Understanding when a government agency is liable for a car accident in Pennsylvania is critical for anyone who finds themselves in such a situation. In its simplest form, a government agency may be held responsible if the accident was caused by negligence on their part, such as poorly maintained roads or malfunctioning traffic signals.

At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we understand the complexities involved in establishing government liability in car accidents. Our talented team of attorneys has extensive experience navigating the unique legal challenges that such cases present. We are committed to providing personalized legal representation, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Government Liability in Car Accidents

Government agencies are responsible for maintaining roads, highways, and public properties in a condition that is safe for public use. When accidents occur due to neglect in these areas, the agency in charge can be held liable. For instance, if a car accident was caused by a pothole that had not been repaired for an extended period, the government entity responsible for road maintenance could be considered at fault, providing the government entity had notice of the condition. Similarly, accidents resulting from unclear road signs or malfunctioning traffic lights could also lead to government liability.

Liability extends beyond the physical condition of roads. Government agencies must also ensure that road designs are safe and do not present inherent risks to drivers. This includes proper signage, adequate lighting, and safe intersections. When accidents are caused by design flaws, victims may have a claim against the responsible government body. Establishing liability in these cases requires demonstrating that the agency was aware of the hazard or should have been aware and failed to take appropriate action to mitigate the risk.

However, pursuing a claim against a government agency involves specific procedures and strict timelines. In Pennsylvania, claimants must file a notice of claim within six months of the accident. This notice must include detailed information about the incident and the damages sought. Failure to adhere to these procedural requirements can result in the dismissal of the claim, underscoring the importance of seeking legal assistance promptly.

Navigating the Legal Process

The legal process for filing a claim against a government agency in Pennsylvania involves several critical steps. Initially, it is imperative to gather comprehensive evidence to support the claim. This evidence can include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and expert testimony regarding the condition of the road or traffic control devices. Such documentation is vital in proving that the government agency’s negligence contributed to the accident.

Once evidence is compiled, the next step is to file a formal notice of claim, adhering to the specific requirements and deadlines set by Pennsylvania law. This notice is the first official step in the legal process and serves as a formal declaration of your intention to seek compensation from the government agency. It is crucial to ensure that this document is meticulously prepared and submitted within the six-month window following the accident.

The process does not end with the submission of a notice of claim. Government entities often have robust legal defenses and may challenge claims on various grounds, including sovereign immunity, which can limit or entirely prevent liability in certain circumstances. Effective navigation through these legal defenses requires a nuanced understanding of both state and federal laws, highlighting the value of knowledgeable legal representation.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.?

If you are facing the daunting task of holding a government agency accountable for a car accident in Pennsylvania, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.,  is here to help. Our team brings a wealth of experience and a personalized approach to each case. We are committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Choosing us means opting for a firm that combines the resources of a large firm with the personalized attention of a small one.

We understand the emotional and financial toll a car accident can take, which is why we offer our services on a contingency basis for personal injury cases. This means you will not pay any upfront costs, and our fees are contingent upon successfully recovering compensation on your behalf. For more information on how we can assist you, please contact us at (215) 822-7575 or visit our contact form. Our team is ready to review your case and advise on the best course of action.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
May 21, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.