Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis), has been named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident in which his chief of staff, who was serving as Ryan’s press secretary at the time of the crash, rear-ended plaintiffs’ vehicle, resulting in injuries to a driver and passenger.
Each allege they suffered a myriad of injuries and are seeking $50,000 each in compensation.
However, Ryan and his aide, who are being represented by the U.S. Justice Department in the matter, are arguing the case should be dismissed absent a waiver of sovereign immunity. This is the provision that shields the federal government from tort action unless it has previously stipulated to an exception.
According to court records in Perez v. Ryan, the complaint was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Ryan himself was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Plaintiff was reportedly stopped due to traffic ahead when the aide slammed into the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle. The passenger of victim’s car is also named as plaintiff.
They accuse the aide of negligence by failure to maintain a safe distance and failure to operate the car at a reasonable, safe speed, failed to pay attention to the road, failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to yield the right-of-way, failed to maintain control of the vehicle and failed to obey all traffic rules and regulations. The aide was operating a Chevy Tahoe at the time of the wreck.
As a result of the accident, plaintiffs say they suffered closed head injuries with concussion, headaches, nausea, insomnia, various contusions and back and spinal strains. They allege the injuries have been costly in terms of medical bills and lost wages, and will cause them continued suffering in the future.
An attorney representing the aide flatly denied negligence, indicating the claims were barred because plaintiffs were contributorily negligent. This is when the injured party in some way contributed to the cause of their injury. However, the defense attorney did not indicate how contributory negligence applies in this case held.
Defendants requested the case be moved to the federal U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before initiating a request for dismissal. The justice department says the two plaintiffs failed to exhaust their remedies through administrative channels before they filed their lawsuit.
Our Naples car accident lawyers know there are a series of special procedures that must be initiated anytime a plaintiff pursues damages from a government employee or agency.
While it’s not every day someone is rear-ended by Congressional staffers (although it’s probably more likely when living in a place like D.C.), accidents caused by other government workers in transit is far more common. These might include police officers, firefighters, ambulance workers, code enforcement officers, animal control workers and more. It could even include government subcontractors, such as landscapers or cleaning crews.
Victims of any car accident need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine all necessary timelines and procedures. As this case shows, matters could be more complicated than it might seem at first glance.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Perez v. Ryan, March 9, 2015, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
More Blog Entries:
Primas v. City of Milledgeville – Sovereign Immunity in Injury Cases, Feb. 28, 2015, Car Accident Injury Lawyer Blog