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I Got Hit by a City Sanitation Truck: Do I Have a Case?

truck accident lawsuit

There are hundreds of city sanitation trucks on the roads of New Brunswick. Sometimes they are unavoidable. Maybe you get stuck behind them on their route, or they trail behind your vehicle. Either way, these trucks are broad, heavy, and slow. What happens if one of these trucks collides with you?  What recourse do you have when a public works vehicle hits you? Can you recover compensation through a truck accident lawsuit, even though the city, township, or borough where you live owns the trucks? This article will explore this topic and underline your legal rights in this situation.

Can I Sue the City?

One of the first questions most people have when being hit by a city sanitation truck or a public works vehicle is, “Can I sue the city?”  The short answer is “yes”. However, this type of accident claim falls under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, a liability law designed to protect the state of New Jersey and its municipalities from being sued for negligence.  Therefore, you must follow the provisions of the Tort Claims Act or you could lose your right to sue and your right to recover.

File a Notice of Tort Claim

When you decide to file a lawsuit against the city for an accident with a truck or public works vehicle, you have just 90 days from the date of the accident to file a Notice of Tort Claim. If you do not file a Notice of Tort Claim with the government entity involved in an accident, you will not be able to file a lawsuit.  Filing such notice informs the government entity you wish to file a lawsuit. It also provides the government with the information necessary to begin an investigation into the accident.

nj public entity liability

No matter the circumstance, you should always act immediately if you wish to bring a case against a public entity.   

Proving Your Case Against the City?

In almost all cases, auto and truck accidents against a public entity operate in the same fashion as in the private sector.  Vehicle drivers must adhere to the rules of the road and stay within their respective lanes of travel, drive within the speed limit, obey traffic signals and signs, follow at a safe distance, yield to vehicles that have the right of way, maintain control of their vehicle, and make observations of traffic and road conditions.  The failure to adhere to these rules is usually negligence. 

Pain and Suffering and Permanent Injury

Before you can bring a claim for damages under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (Title 59), your injuries must be serious enough to satisfy the specific categories below in order to recover:

  • Permanent loss of a bodily function
  • Dismemberment
  • Disfigurement
  • Psychological and emotional distress (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

In addition, you must have expended more than $3,600 in medical treatment bills, even if paid by insurance, before you can bring a claim for damages.  The purpose of these requirements is to eliminate all minor claims under the Tort Claims Act.

Hit by a City Vehicle? Find Out Your Legal Options Today

If you are ever in an accident with a city or township vehicle, do not go at it alone.  Claims against public entities require immediate action in order to preserve your rights.  If you think you may have a serious injury case that allows for compensation, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney from Rossetti & DeVoto, PC in New Jersey to learn your rights. Call our office at (844) 263-6260 to schedule a consultation today.  It will be our honor to serve you.

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Rossetti & DeVoto

Lou DeVoto and Andy Rossetti have again been named to New Jersey's Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation. This is the 15th year in a row that each attorney has been named in the elite rankings.

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