In the event that you’re in a car accident involving a municipal vehicle or you slip and fall on government property, you may want to file a lawsuit for their negligence. However, it’s essential to understand that the process differs from a traditional personal injury case. If you’re looking to hold a government entity liable for the injuries you sustained due to their negligence, it’s essential to understand how to proceed. The following blog, in conjunction with a Prince George’s County personal injury attorney, can help you determine the best course of action to take.
Is It Possible to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Government Entity?
Most States in America have what’s known as sovereign immunity. This essentially means they cannot be sued without their consent. However, Mayland, like most other states, enacted a Tort Claims Act. This allows an individual to hold a state responsible for an injury.
It’s important to understand that these are different from lawsuits against a private citizen or entity. When suing a state, you must adhere to the rules and regulations of your state in regard to filing a claim against a government entity. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you through this complex process, as it differs from a traditional lawsuit.
What Should I Do if I Want to File a Claim?
If you want to file a claim, the first thing you must do is file a claim letter. When you believe the state government or its entity, such as an individual employee, is responsible for your injuries, you must notify the Maryland State Treasure. This letter should contain why you believe the state is liable, when and where the injury happened, the circumstances surrounding your accident, the parties involved, and the specific damages you are seeking.
In the event a local government is responsible, you will still file a claim letter. However, depending on your location, you’ll need to send it to a different entity. For Prince George’s County, your claim letter can be directed to the County Solicitor or Attorney. In Maryland, you have one year from your accident to file this claim letter and three years to pursue a lawsuit after writing the letter.
It’s also important to understand that there is a cap on damages one can receive from a lawsuit in which a government entity is liable. If the state or local government is responsible, you can only recover up to $400,000 in damages. However, if the injury was the result of an intentional tort of constitutional rights violation committed by an officer, the amount may be higher.
At McCarthy, Winkelman, Mester & Offutt, our dedicated legal team understands how complex these issues can be. As such, we will work tirelessly to help you navigate the difficulties of holding a government entity liable for its negligence. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our competent and experienced firm.