Governmental Liability Lawyers
Locate a Local Personal Injury Lawyer
What Is Governmental Liability?
Sometimes fault for a personal injury lies with the government. Governmental liability can be found, for example:
- When a person walking down a city street falls in an uncovered manhole.
- When a person is hit by a US mail truck.
- When the police negligently cause damage to a person or their property.
What Is Sovereign Immunity?
Traditionally, sovereign immunity provided federal and state governments and their employees nearly absolute protection against suit by a private party. Unless the government expressly consented to suit, private parties had no avenues of relief when bringing suit.
The legal doctrine behind sovereign immunity was based on the principle that protecting the government from civil claims maintains a stable government. Over time, there was a shift between the interest of protecting individuals and encouraging governmental responsibility, with increased support for government accountability. As a result, the courts and the legislatures created laws that increasingly allowed for a narrower scope of governmental liability.
What Is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
In 1946, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was passed to provide more avenues for waiver of sovereign immunity and defines the parameters of claims brought against the federal government. Under the Act, the federal government waives immunity and recognizes liability for the negligence or intentional wrongful acts of its employees, during the course and scope of their employment. The federal government also waives immunity in contract matters where the government is a party to the contract.
Soon after the FTCA was passed, many states followed suit by passing their own tort claims acts, most of which are closely modeled after the FTCA.
Due to these reforms, individuals can now sue state governments and the federal government for personal injury. However the scope of possible claims is narrow and the rules about when and how the claims are made are specific and must be followed exactly for a claim to be valid. For example, the FTCA requires that all claims against the government be written claims, be filed within two years of the incident, and damages specifically stated in the claim.
What Are the Rules for Filing a Claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act?
There are many specific rules that limit whether a private person is eligible to file a claim under the FTCA. The FTCA only creates governmental liability for the negligent or willful conduct of a governmental employee while that employee was acting within the course and scope of their employment. Despite the fact that since it was enacted the FTCA has permitted claims for governmental liability, the act outlines numerous exceptions to suit that could bar one’s claim.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Government Liability Issue?
Establishing a case for governmental liability is extremely difficult and requires the help of an attorney familiar with the requirements for filing a claim under the FTCA or the applicable state tort act. Additionally, a government lawyer will aid you in navigating the complex and difficult language of the FTCA to ensure your claim will not be barred or fail once filed. Present your case to Government Lawyers now!
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-29-2015 02:54 PM PST
Link to this page