Last week during a “peaceful” protest at an air force base, you were pushed by another protester straight into a federal police officer. You tried to apologize and tell him it was a mistake, but he wasn’t hearing it. Instead, he dragged you to a nearby police car. He ignored your pleas as you tried to explain what happened. Approaching the car, you pulled your arm out of his grip and told him you had a bad knee and it would be best if you got in the car on your own. He again ignored you, grabbed your arm once again and shoved you into the back of the car.
As your shoulder hit the seat, you heard your knee pop and an excruciating pain radiated up your leg. You screamed and begged the officer to help you with your leg, but he just slammed the door. You were forced to sit there for 45 minutes in blinding pain, until another officer came to check on you. He took a quick glance at your swollen leg and called an ambulance. It turned out that the forceful twisting of being thrown into the car caused your kneecap to become dislodged, tearing your tendons along with it.
You spent three days in the hospital and you doctor told you that you may never fully recover.
Can you sue the police for the injury? What about filing a claim against the city or state for brutality? Is the federal government exempt from such lawsuits?
Government Immunity Laws
The United States is one of many countries who have a sovereign immunity law to protect the government from damaging prosecutions. The law states that the federal government cannot be sued unless it waives its immunity. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the U.S. has partially waived this law with the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA states that the federal government can be held legally responsible in situations involving employee misconduct leading to civil liability.
Although the FTCA allows for government accountability and prosecution, it also provides liability exceptions in favor of the government itself.
These exceptions include:
- Shorter statute of limitations: general timeframe windows can range from as little as 90 days, to at most six years
- Notice requirements: you must file a Notice of Claim correctly or your suit will automatically be dismissed
- Settlement maximums: before the case is even decided, the government can place monetary limitations on your settlement, which you will be unable to change no matter what the circumstance
- Liability restrictions: the government may not be liable for premise injuries or punitive damages unless under certain circumstances
- Limited scope: the negligent or wrongful conduct must have occurred within the scope of the defendant's employment (must have occurred while on duty or at work) and only claims of negligence (as opposed to intentional misconduct ) are allowed, although some claims for intentional misconduct can be brought against certain federal law enforcement officers
- Subject to state law: the claim must be permitted by the laws of the state in which the misconduct occurred
If you believe you have an injury case against a city, state or federal government, contact an experienced injury lawyer right away. You don’t want to lose your chance to file because you missed the deadline window. Contact us today to get the justice you deserve without falling victim to an oversight or liability exception. You deserve better!
Should the Government Be Above the Law?
Let us know how you feel by leaving your opinions, concerns, and questions in the comment section. Not only will you help us learn more about societal opinions, but your experiences with government injuries could also help our clients get the extra knowledge and confidence they need to fight back. Please, tell us your story and see if we can help.