Suing for Injuries Caused by the Military
Most people assume that military operations are contained to bases, testing sites, and of course war zones. But that simply is not the case, and average people have been harmed by military vehicles on more than one occasion in the United States. The military is of course a branch of the government, and it is not a private company. Suing the military for injuries can be challenging, but many victims have been successful in this endeavor. Within the past few years, there have been many instances of the military being sued for causing injuries to innocent civilians. These lawsuits have been filed in California and many other states. But what can you do if you have been injured by the military? Can you sue?
Navy Veteran Wins $10.8-million Settlement After Car Crash
On October 16th, it was reported that a motorcyclist who suffered an amputated leg after a 2019 accident in San Diego had received almost $11 million in compensation from the United States government. He was ejected from his Harley-Davidson, and the impact caused many bones in his leg to shatter. This left doctors with no other choice but to amputate the limb above the knee. The victim is also a US Navy veteran.
Coincidentally, the person who caused the crash was serving in the Navy at the time. The sailor was driving a large passenger van when he swerved suddenly into the left lane without warning. This caused an impact on another passenger vehicle, which in turn was pushed into the path of the motorcyclist. The resulting impact caused the motorcyclist to be thrown onto the freeway. Although the Navy sailor faced no criminal consequences for this mistake, the victim was intent on filing a lawsuit against the US government.
The victim is no longer able to work as a biomedical engineer, and he is struggling with permanent disfigurement and scarring as a result of this crash. His medical treatment will likely continue for the rest of his life. Ultimately, his $10.8-million settlement proved to be the largest award ever resulting from a lawsuit against the federal government. During the trial, the Navy sailor insisted that the accident had been caused by a “phantom vehicle” that cut him off and caused him to swerve. No real proof of this phantom vehicle exists, however. Ultimately, this entire case shows that suing the military for an accident can result in considerable financial settlements. That being said, one has to remember that the victim, in this case, suffered a tremendously life-altering injury that was both disfiguring and debilitating.
Fighter Jet Smashes Into Home After Hitting Bird
Back in September of 2022, it was reported that a US fighter jet smashed into a Fort Worth home after striking a bird. Apparently, the bird flew into some kind of vital component on the aircraft, causing it to crash almost immediately after the impact. Footage from the plane’s onboard cameras shows the incident in detail. The plane in question was a US Navy T-45C Goshawk, and the pilot was conducting a training exercise. Although this isn’t the best plane available to the US Navy (which is why it is used for training) it is still an advanced piece of military hardware worth millions.
But it was not just a six-figure jet that was lost due to this incident. The plane also crashed into the homes of three private civilians, causing “major damage.” One family was sitting in their home when the engine struck their backyard. Apparently, a 9-year-old child was sitting just a few inches away from the point of impact. The consequences could have been much worse, but it seems as though no one was seriously injured. One family had to deal with a jet engine lying in their yard for several days, however, and they expressed frustration at how long it took for the Navy to clean up their mess.
Can I Sue for Injuries While Serving in the Military?
Being injured by the military as a civilian is one thing, but suffering injuries while serving is an entirely different matter. This is because the US military is protected by something called “sovereign immunity” if they cause injuries to its own service members. This is the same legal doctrine that protects police officers who are accused of killing civilians (in some situations). The argument is that if you sign up for the military, you willingly accept that there is a high chance of death – either by some kind of accident or while on active duty in a war zone.
But that hasn’t stopped family members and service members from raising concerns, especially after accidents that could have easily been averted. For example, five San Diego Navy sailors were killed in May of 2022 after a helicopter accident. The helicopter fell into the ocean after a botched landing on an aircraft carrier, sending the bodies of the sailors about one mile deep into the water. Their bodies were recovered, but only one survived. Eventually, it was determined that the helicopter had a damaged rotor component at the time of the crash. Somewhat strangely, the investigation also found that there was no negligence in the maintenance of the aircraft. In another incident, nine sailors drowned after their armored vehicle fell into the Pacific Ocean and quickly sank.
Where Can I Find a Personal Injury Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in California, Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. is here to help. With our assistance, you can hold negligent parties accountable for your injuries – whether they were caused by private companies, branches of the military, or other private citizens. We can investigate the circumstances of your accident, gather evidence, negotiate for a settlement on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. A lawsuit can provide you with a financial settlement that can cover your medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Book your consultation as soon as possible to get started with an effective action plan.