Personal Injury:

Claims Against the Government

In personal injury cases involving the government, or a government employee, you will probably need to follow strict guidelines in bringing a personal injury lawsuit, including the requirement that you file a "notice of claim" within as few as 60 days after your injury. This is because governments and their subdivisions are usually entitled to what is known as "immunity" to strict liability and lawsuits, meaning that they cannot ordinarily be sued without permission.
Most governments have enacted laws that contain rules for filing a personal injury lawsuit against them, and through these laws, the branches of governments have conditionally given up or "waived" immunity to legal liability for an accident or injury. Note that if you do not follow the rules in these laws (including giving the government prompt notice of your personal injury lawsuit), you will lose the right to receive any compensation for injuries caused by the government.
If you are involved in any accident involving a government agency or employee, you should file a notice of claim as soon as possible, regardless of whether the government's fault is clear at the time.
The process differs from state to state, but generally the purpose of filing a notice of claim is to make the government aware that you suffered an injury, and to give the agency or entity a chance to respond to your contentions before you may file a lawsuit against the government. Your claim will either be accepted (which is rare) or denied by the government (most common). If your personal injury claim against the government is denied, you are then free to file a lawsuit and attempt to hold the government liable through the civil court process. It may help to think of the notice of claim-filing requirement as a prerequisite to any formal civil lawsuit that can later be filed against the government.
For specific information about the requirements and procedure for filing a government-related injury lawsuit in your city or state, call or write to the government agency that was involved in the incident. If you are unsure which branch of government may ultimately be responsible (i.e. city, county, or state), it is always best to err on the side of caution and submit a claim to each agency that may be at fault (to any extent) for causing your injuries.
The complexity of bringing a lawsuit against the government, including the need to comply with statutory requirements in filing a notice of claim for injury, make the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer a valuable asset in any accident or injury case in which a government entity may be at fault. To speak with an accident attorney about your case, fill out the free case evaluation form on the right.