Inclement weather is a reality of winters in Michigan, especially the Grand Rapids area. Numerous people are injured every time the roads are covered in snow and ice.

An incident involving a salt truck that was sent out by the local government to clear the roads resulted in a multiple car accident. When a government truck is responsible for an accident, a lawsuit against the driver and local municipality can become a complex endeavor due to Michigan’s laws regarding tort liability for government agencies.

Government owned salt truck slides down and hill and hits several other cars

Icy roads throughout the western part of the state caused a number of motor vehicle crashes. One accident involved a Grand Rapids municipal truck that was bringing salt to the area near Prospect Ave and Trowbridge Street Northeast. The truck began to slide as it was climbing a hill and struck several other vehicles. The driver of an SUV in the area said another van had already slid into the car next to it before the salt truck fell off of the hill, adding to the severity of the situation. At least five vehicles in total were involved in the crash and there were concerns about additional damage being caused by the salt truck’s heavy load.

The winter road conditions were bad enough that another car accident involving an ambulance happened in a different part of Grand Rapids that same morning. The National Weather Service had also issued a black ice advisory for the area.

Suing after being hit by a government vehicle

The rules for filing a lawsuit against a government entity are somewhat different than other drivers on the road. Keep in mind that the government of Grand Rapids will end up being liable in a lawsuit, rather than the individual truck driver because it happened during working hours.

Sovereign immunity

There was a legal doctrine in previous times called sovereign immunity, which meant that a government could not be sued by its citizens for any kind of civil fault that resulted in injuries or property damage. Over time, this doctrine was replaced by various state statutes that govern when and how individuals can make file lawsuits against various government employees or agencies after they cause an accident.

The Governmental Tort Liability Act

In Michigan, there is a law called the Governmental Tort Liability Act that controls how lawsuits against the government work. Many kinds of actions are still barred under this law if the act that caused an injury can broadly be defined as a normal government function. However, this is a factual determination and it can be difficult to know exactly how each case will proceed. A conversation with a local attorney based on the specifics of each accident will be necessary to find out how the Governmental Tort Liability Act applies.

Talk to a local truck accident specialist

If you have experienced injuries or property damage after a collision with a large truck, there is legal help available in Grand Rapids and throughout Michigan. You can use the listings on this site to find an attorney who matches your needs and receive advice about the possibility of a lawsuit or other actions.