Getting injured due to someone else’s negligence can be frustrating and overwhelming. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may have to spend a considerable amount of money on the hospital bills and get time off work to facilitate speedy recovery and healing. Fortunately, you may be entitled to pursue an injury claim against the alleged at-fault party when this happens.
However, dealing with these cases can be tricky if the defendant or the allegedly responsible party is the government. Typically, claims against the government happen when you were hit by a city bus, getting injured after tripping on a public sidewalk, developing an illness after drinking water from a public fountain in a public park, and other related situations. On the other hand, it’s essential to know that if your injury claim involves a local, state, or federal government entity or its employees, you need to observe some strict guidelines to ensure a more favorable outcome.
So, if you’re planning to file an injury claim against the government, below are the three things you need to know from the get-go:
Filing A Notice Of Claim
When bringing an injury case against a government entity or its employees, it’s essential to file a Notice of Claim as soon as possible, whether the government is at fault or not. Although the procedural process varies from state to state, the Notice of Claim generally serves as a notice to the government that you sustained an injury due to their fault. Once the government receives the notice, they’ll have the opportunity to respond to your allegations before you formally file a lawsuit against them.
Furthermore, during the Notice of Claim period, the government may contact you to tackle the case and attempt to settle it amicably. Unfortunately, in most cases, the government denies your claim. As a result, you can freely file a lawsuit to hold the government accountable for what happened to you.
Given the conditions mentioned above, it may be safe to think that filing a Notice of Claim is a vital prerequisite to a formal lawsuit against the government. However, if you’re suing them for the first time, it would be best to hire a lawyer from a reliable law firm like the Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm and other similar organizations. They’re familiar with substantive and procedural requirements for filing injury claims, so they can effectively build your case and improve your chances of winning.
Government Immunity From Specific Personal Injury Claims
Although you may file a personal injury claim against the government, there are situations wherein the government can invoke sovereign immunity to shield itself from any liability. This immunity, however, depends on the type of injury and the kind of personal injury involved.
Moreover, it’s essential to know that the government immunity under injury claims is applied in the following manner:
- Discretionary Functions: When the government performs certain discretionary functions, it may not be sued for injury claims. For example, when the government entity puts a stop or hazard sign in a dangerous area but you’re still injured, the government may exercise its immunity power. As a result, you may be unable to sue them for your injuries.
- Awarding Of Punitive Damages: Legally, punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongful act and prevent it in the future. However, when filing an injury claim against the government, there’s no guarantee you can recover punitive damages under your state laws. For example, if you sue the government in Florida, the government is immune from paying you punitive damages even after winning the case.
- Limitation On Recovery Of Damages: Based on different state laws, the government’s sovereign immunity limits the number of damages you can recover from them in a personal injury claim. For example, in states like Florida, the government can only pay damages not exceeding USD$200,000 each person.
Statute Of Limitations
Another thing to consider when filing an injury claim against the government is the statute of limitations. It refers to the time limits within which you can file a case within the deadline, or you lose your legal right to do so in the future.
Hence, when pursuing an injury case against a government entity or its employees, you must be mindful of the time limits applicable to your case. For example, if you’re from Pennsylvania, you should file the Notice of Claim within six months of the accident.
Generally speaking, you may be eligible to file an injury claim if the government has injured you under certain circumstances. However, for someone going after a government entity or its employees, you need to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of filing a case to attain a more desirable outcome. Fortunately, by keeping the information mentioned above in mind, you’ll have an idea of how to deal with injury claims against the government.