Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
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When you think of a personal injury claim, you might imagine filing a lawsuit against one person or company that causes you harm. However, there are situations where the government may be the one at fault. When the government is the negligent party, the situation can get complicated.
If you were hurt in a personal injury accident where you think the government is at fault, it is helpful to work with an attorney familiar with these types of cases. An attorney with Belt & Bruner, P.C. is knowledgeable and can guide you through your case.
Can You Sue Uncle Sam?
There are circumstances in which you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the state or federal government.
For example, suppose you were injured or harmed by a government employee or an independent contractor hired by the government. In that case, you could sue for damages for medical bills, lost pay, pain and suffering, and other expenses.
However, the procedure for suing the government is different than a personal injury suit involving a private company or individual. Certain laws apply to government personal injury cases, and it is up to you to file accordingly.
A personal injury lawyer with Belt & Bruner, P.C. can help you, whether you have a case against the State of Alabama or the United States Government.
When Can You Sue the Government?
The State of Alabama and the federal government enjoy certain legal protections and immunity. However, there are situations and circumstances when the government may be held accountable if its actions or omission caused you to suffer bodily injury.
Here are a few examples of when you could file a personal injury lawsuit:
- You were hurt in a car accident caused by someone driving a government vehicle
- You fell and hurt yourself because of broken flooring in a government office
- You were injured by a government employee who was not professionally trained for his or her job
The burden of proof is on you. A personal injury lawyer who handles government negligence cases can help build your case and recover compensation on your behalf.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
Personal injury claims against government entities have the potential to settle or obtain verdicts for much more than typical car accident cases. That’s because the government is typically self-insured and does not limit how much they will pay. On the other hand, a personal injury claim against a private individual may have caps on damages per state laws.
Compensation in Government Cases
Courts are free to award compensation for all your losses when the government is found to be at fault. For example, a plaintiff was awarded $475,000 in a 2019 case involving the federal government. In another government personal injury case, the representative of two estates was awarded a total of more than $2.8 million.
Although every case is different, you could be awarded significant compensation.
Forms of Compensation
We have handled many cases against the government. We know how to fight back against their teams of aggressive attorneys and protect your rights throughout the process.
Belt & Bruner, P.C. can help you get compensation for the following losses after an accident involving the government:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
- Lost wages
- Employment benefits
- Household services
- Property damage for your car, phone, and other personal items
Our record of success includes a recent case in which we secured $2.8 million in a wrongful death case against the United States of America.
Government Personal Injury Laws
In personal injury claims against the government, the laws that apply are different. They depend on which level of government you are suing.
Claims Against Alabama
If an Alabama employee caused you harm or your injuries were due to negligence by the state, then your case would be governed by a special set of rules. In general, the state has immunity against personal injury claims with one important exception.
‘Contrary to Clearly Established Law’
If a government employee who acted “contrary to clearly established law” did not act in good faith and caused you bodily injury, you can file a lawsuit. These lawsuits would be brought in Alabama civil courts.
Deadline for Filing Claims Against Alabama
There is a statute of limitations of two years for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the State of Alabama. That means if you are in a car accident with an Alabama employee, then you have exactly two years from that date to file a lawsuit. If you do not, your claim will likely be dismissed.
There is a deadline exception for minors. If you are under the age of consent when you are injured, you generally have until your 21st birthday to file a lawsuit.
Claims Against the Federal Government
If a federal government employee causes you harm, you can sue them under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This law allows private parties to sue the United States in federal district courts.
For example, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a United States Postal Service driver, and they caused your accident, then you would sue the United States of America in federal court.
The federal government, like most government entities, is self-insured. Therefore, there are no policy limits. You and your attorney can determine your damages and seek maximum compensation.
How Long Do I Have To File an FTCA Claim?
The FTCA requires you to bring a lawsuit against the federal government within two years of the date of your accident or six months after notification of the final decision of the claim by the agency.
When you file a claim with the government agency that caused your injuries, they will respond to your claim. However, you only have six months after their final decision on that claim to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, your entire case may be dismissed.
Harmed by State or Federal Government?
If you were hurt in a personal injury involving the State of Alabama or the U.S. government, an attorney with Belt & Bruner, P.C. could help. It is challenging when the government is the defendant in your personal injury lawsuit, but we have helped clients obtain settlements due to governmental negligence.
The sooner you call, the faster we can review your case and get to work.