If you ever try to file a personal injury claim, you may hear the term “sovereign immunity” come up, especially if you were injured by a government employee or by the negligence of a governmental body. And unfortunately, if this term comes up, it usually means that you can’t file a claim.
Sovereign Immunity is a legal doctrine that states a government cannot be sued by one of its citizens unless it agrees to allow itself to be sued, because “there can be no legal right against the authority that makes the law on which the right depends.”
In practice, this means there are limited and specific circumstances where you are allowed to sue if you are injured through the fault of the government.
What are Common Examples of Sovereign Immunity?
Being injured by the government is unfortunately more common than you might think, especially in premises liability claims like slip and fall accidents where victims are injured when government-owned properties aren’t kept safe for visitors.
Examples of injuries where the at-fault party MAY be immune from liability include:
- Injuries at a public school or university
- Injuries at a public park
- Injuries at a public library
- Injuries at public airports
- Injuries at U.S. post offices
- Car crashes caused by poorly designed or maintained highways
- Injuries caused by construction workers working on a government contract
- Car crashes caused by on-duty government employees, including police officers and first responders, when they are acting in an official capacity
These are just a few examples, and there are many more potential situations where the government could be considered at fault for an injury. But to know whether the government entity or employee at-fault can be sued for damages to compensate you for your injuries, you will need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
What Must be Done to File a Lawsuit Against the Government?
When the government allows for a claim, there are very specific rules for providing WRITTEN NOTICE to the proper officials in a specific amount of time. These rules are not flexible and there is no room for error. The rules are provided by statute and are strictly enforced by local and appellate judges because the ability to sue is granted only as an accommodation and not as a right under the law.
We will not attempt to discuss the rules in this blog, as they are often too complicated to sum up quickly and in an easy-to-understand way that applies to everyone. If you have a claim against a city, county, state or federal government employee or agency, you must act immediately and call a lawyer to talk about the case and how to protect your right to file a suit.
What Happens If the Person or Party at Fault is Immune?
Unfortunately, your options may be limited. We believe this is neither right nor fair, which is why we fight against tort reform laws that make it harder for victims to get the compensation they need. But don’t give up before it’s over.
First, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has dealt with claims against the government before. At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we know when claims qualify for exceptions to immunity, and we work hard to get injured victims the compensation they need and deserve.
The Clock is Ticking on Suits Against the Government
If you’ve been injured and a government body may have been at fault, contact us immediately. Even when government bodies can be held liable for negligence, the deadlines to file a claim are much, much shorter than for typical injury suits, and you’ll need to act fast if you don’t want to lose your chance to get compensation altogether.
Contact our law firm today to discuss your claim for free, and get your lawsuit moving forward.