It was your first time in D.C. and you were enthralled by the sights. You were having the time of your life snapping photos of the Lincoln Memorial, spending an entire day getting lost in the Smithsonian, and picnicking by the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, your tour was interrupted in a flash, when you wound up being rushed to the emergency room with two broken legs and a fractured rib.
Once you came to at the hospital you realized what had happened. You were attempting to cross from the museum to the Mall and, as you waited on the grass, a police car plowed up onto the curb and straight into you. In addition to the car hitting you, a light pole was dislodged and landed on your legs. So now, instead of enjoying your vacation, you’re stuck in an unfamiliar hospital, in an unfamiliar city, as a result of a distracted police officer jumping the curb. On top of all that, you’re not sure the hospital will accept your insurance, since you’re from out of state.
What are you going to do? Can you sue the police for injury compensation? Can you sue the government since the accident occurred on federal property?
Injury Claims Against Municipalities and Government Entities
Injury claims citing a government agency or employee as the defendant can be extremely difficult to pursue, but it is not impossible. The federal government is just as responsible for its negligence as any other corporation or citizen. If you suffer an injury as a direct result of dangerous conditions of property owned or operated by a government agency or as a result of an accident caused by an employee of a government agency (during the course of official work), you may be entitled to compensation.
Unfortunately, although you have the right to file a claim against the government, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, government defendants have the right, under sovereign immunity, to set their own rules when it comes to being sued. Up until the early 1900s, sovereign immunity protected all federal and state governments (and their employees) from being sued without consent. However, due to a general belief that governments should be accountable for their actions and negligence, the federal government passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (28 U.S.C.§2674) in 1946, which suspended the use of sovereign immunity in particular cases.
Unfortunately, although this act allows for state and federal governments to be sued, each individual state’s legislature can determine liability limits, immunity approval, and damage or settlement caps on a case-by-case basis. Injury claims can be especially confusing as they depend directly on who or what caused the injury and how that person or thing is related to a government agency or state.
Some examples of municipal government injuries include:
- Injuries sustained outside federal buildings
- City truck accidents: tree trimmers, garbage disposal, municipal buses, salt trucks, plows, etc.
- Emergency vehicle collisions: accidents caused by fire trucks, police cars, etc.
- Police brutality (including city, county, and federal law enforcement): assault, reckless or excessive force injuries, psychological intimidation, sexual abuse, wrongful death, etc.
- Incarceration or lawful protection injuries: injuries sustained by another while in custody, state or federal protection, or under guard
Fighting Intimidation With Experience
Before you file a claim against the government, it is imperative that you know if you have a legitimate case and that you have experienced representation. Only some injury cases have the proper elements that, when pieced together, can be considered strong enough to override government immunity. However, an experienced lawyer can help you build and strengthen your case to get the justice you deserve.
If you believe you have an injury case against a state or federal agency, contact us today. Our vast experience and knowledge with injury litigation will help you understand your claim and options, as well as give you the confidence you need to pursue your claim. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. We’ll have your back and help support you through all stages of the suit. Remember, we’re here to fight for you!