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What are your Legal Options if Involved in a Traffic Accident with a Government Vehicle in Maryland?

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What is the Tort Claims Act?

The Maryland Tort Claims Act, MTCA, is a law stating the ability of a citizen to sue the State of Maryland for any injury caused by the state or an employee of the state. Lawsuits filed under this act require following the normal rules for lawsuits plus some additional rules, including filing the lawsuit within the statute of limitation. A tort claim often requires quicker action. The four steps needed to sue the state or its employees under the MCTA are as follows:

File a Claim Letter

  • Deliver a claim to the Maryland State Treasurer stating the circumstances of the wrongdoing performed by the State and what actions led to an injury. This is a claim letter.
  • Include the following information in the claim letter:
    • Name and addresses of all involved parties
    • Details of how, where, and when the injury occurred
    • A description of the injury
    • Specific damages sought
    • Lawyer’s contact information
    • Personal contact information
  • This claim letter should be sent to the Treasurer’s Office within one year of the date that the injury occurred.
  • A lawsuit may be filed outside of the one-year time constraint. However, the State may be able to claim an inability to defend the suit due to an inadequate filing time. The court will decide whether to allow your case to go forward or not.


The Treasurer will investigate all claim letters in the same manner as an insurance company would. The investigation may be lengthy. There is no need to wait for the Treasurer’s response before filing a claim.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The lawsuit must be filed with the complaint, summons, and any other documents pursuant to the Maryland Rules. Sending a claim letter does not remove this requirement.


  • Under the Torts Claim Act, there is a limit of no more than $400,000 to be paid for any single accident.
    • The amount may be higher if the injury was caused by:
      • An intentional tort
      • A violation of a constitutional right committed by a law enforcement officer
      • Injury resulting from sexual abuse

What Do I Do After a Car Accident with a Government Vehicle in Maryland?

While it may be challenging to remain calm following a car accident, it is critical to do so as there are certain steps required to improve the chances of a successful lawsuit. Those steps include the following:

  • Remain at the scene and call 911: Leaving the scene of a car accident in Maryland can have legal consequences. 911 should be dialed immediately at the scene of the accident. This is a crucial step as responding officers will assess the situation and create an official accident report, and first responders will be able to address any medical attention needed. The police report will document important details such as date, time, location, and information on all involved parties. This report is necessary evidence for any legal proceedings.
  • Exchange information with all involved parties: Document the names, contact details, insurance information, and government vehicle registration numbers of all involved parties. Additional contact information for any witnesses at the scene should also be gathered as available. It is essential to cooperate with law enforcement and provide accurate information while avoiding an admission of guilt or fault or speculating about the cause of the accident.
  • Document the scene: Using a smartphone or camera, document as much of the scene as possible. This includes vehicle damage to all involved parties and any property or personal damage that has occurred. Road conditions should also be documented, including skid marks, debris, or other road hazards that potentially contributed to the accident. Document any relevant traffic signs, signals, or other road markings that may be significant in understanding the circumstances of the accident.
  • Seek medical attention: This is an important step in documenting an accident. Medical attention should be sought regardless of immediate or visible injuries. A medical examination can identify and document any injuries sustained, creating a link between the accident and the injury.

What is Governmental and Sovereign Immunity?

The doctrine of sovereign immunity protects the state and governments, meaning that state and government entities cannot be sued or held liable for civil claims by their own citizens if the government or its agents acted within their authority. While government immunity is prevalent in Maryland law, there are several exceptions to the rule.

What are Exceptions to Governmental and Sovereign Immunity?

One exemption to immunity is the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA, which provides a limited waiver when government employees are negligent within the scope of their authority. All claims against the state must be brought pursuant to the MTCA, as mentioned above.

Another exemption to governmental and sovereign immunity is vehicle liability. This typically includes emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, and police cruisers. A Maryland car accident claim may only proceed against these vehicles or vehicle operators if the alleged act occurred outside the scope of the employee’s duty. The level and amount of immunity may also be affected depending on the manner and method of operation of the government vehicle.

Do I Need an Attorney?

The heightened difficulty and extra rules involved in cases with government vehicles warrant retaining a lawyer for your representation. The added time constraints in these cases require quick and reliable action. Here at Tehrani Law, LLC, we are ready to fight on your behalf. Give us a call today at 301-778-2294 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.

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