In many cases, victims of negligence file personal injury claims against a person or company. In other situations, however, their claims may be against a government entity, such as a city or state. Due to the particular rules that govern these claims, bringing catastrophic injury claims against the government in Sandy Springs may necessitate prompt legal advice.
Various situations might lead to governmental liability, and the resulting injuries may be devastating for the affected parties. Injury victims may be entitled to damages resulting from personal injuries, but pursuing these claims can be more challenging than those against private citizens. A skilled attorney can be vital to holding government entities accountable for their negligence in causing your injuries.
Potential Sources of Governmental Liability
Different types of accidents may lead to you seeking damages from governmental bodies. For example, a motor vehicle accident caused by a city bus driver may result in city liability for any injuries that bus passengers or other motorists sustain in the accident. Likewise, if you slip and fall in a county courthouse due to slick or uneven flooring, you may have a personal injury claim against the county.
Illegal police tactics or aggression toward individuals also would involve suing a city, county, or state governmental entity. Motor vehicles accidents that stem from poor road design or maintenance or negligent operation of government-owned vehicles
Notice Requirements in Government Liability Claims
One of the most significant differences in pursuing a personal injury claim against a government body is the notice requirement that injured parties must provide to the applicable governmental entity. This notice, which is also referred to as an Ante Litem letter, must contain specific information about the claim, including:
- What happened, where it happened, and when it happened
- Which government agency or entity caused the injuries to the victims
- How the victims were injured
- The total amount of damages that the injury victims are seeking
By putting the governmental body on notice of the potential claim, the hope is that you may see your claim settled more quickly. However, the practical consequence of this requirement is that injury victims have a much smaller timeframe to pursue their claims against a government body than against a private person or company.
The deadline for filing these notices differs under state law. For instance, under O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1, you must provide notice to counties who may be responsible for your injuries within one year of the accident. Similarly, you have one year from the date of the incident that led to your injuries in which to give notice or bring your claims.
However, claims against municipal corporations require an Ante Litem notice to be filed within six months of the accident and served on the mayor’s office or the chairperson of the city council or commission. The city then has 30 days to respond to the notice. Due to the complexity of these various notice requirements, you may want to seek the advice of a government catastrophic injury claims.
Government Claims and Sovereign Immunity
The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity severely limits catastrophic personal injury claims against government entities. Different degrees of sovereign immunity shield governmental bodies from liability in lawsuits, depending on whether it is a federal, state, county, or city government unit.
Some state statutes provide for limited waivers of sovereign immunity, which allows government bodies to be sued and liable for damages in some instances. For example, the state may be responsible for some actions of their employees, such as ministerial duties that they were performing in the scope of their employment. As a local attorney familiar with government catastrophic injury claims may advise, other limits to state government liability exist, such as a cap on potential damages of $1 million and a bar on punitive damages.
Pursue Your Sandy Springs Catastrophic Injury Claims Against the Government
Pursuing catastrophic injury claims against governmental bodies can be far more challenging than pursuing claims against private entities. Getting legal guidance in these situations is wise, mainly due to the time limits on notice requirements for catastrophic injury claims against the government in Sandy Springs.
It would help if you never assumed that sovereign immunity bars all claims that you may have against government units on any level. Consulting legal counsel is likely the most effective way to determine what legal recourse is available to you.