If a government agency or employee caused your accident and injury, special rules might apply to navigating the claims process and recovering compensation. You often can recover compensation from local, state, or federal government agencies, but you must follow strict guidelines to do so.
To pursue a case against a government agency, you can work with a personal injury lawyer familiar with these claims. They will understand how to navigate the process, the deadlines you must meet, and the laws that apply to your case. Most firms provide free case reviews for injured victims and their families, where they can review their options and next steps.
Each State Recognizes Special Laws for Suing Government Agencies
Each state establishes rules for navigating claims against a government agency or employee. In Maryland, lawsuits against the state must follow the procedures the Maryland Tort Claims Act controls. Claims against counties and municipalities follow the Local Government Tort Claims Act.
In general, these laws require victims to meet additional deadlines and file additional paperwork when attempting to hold a government agency liable for their injuries and damages.
Under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, victims must notify specific officials about their intent to sue within one year of an injury. This is a shorter timeline than the usual statute of limitations for beginning a lawsuit in the state. The law also limits the recoverable damages in most cases. Currently, the cap in Maryland is $400,000 per claimant. This includes:
- Medical care costs
- Income losses
- Pain and suffering
- Other recoverable expenses and losses
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Under What Circumstances Can I Sue a Government Agency?
There are many circumstances when a public agency or government employee might be liable for an accident and injuries. Some of the most common involve traffic accidents. This could include a bus crash while riding on public transportation or a municipal employee causing a collision driving a city-owned car.
In either of these situations, a car accident lawyer will know how to investigate the crash, determine fault and liability, and navigate the process as necessary. This includes meeting all filing deadlines and notifying the proper parties about the case. They will represent you throughout the process, including during any settlement negotiations that could follow.
However, there are other circumstances when a government agency might be liable for your injuries. This could include premises liability injuries, fires, medical malpractice, and more. Consider all the ways government agencies affect your life. This could include:
- Elementary and high schools
- School systems
- Garbage and recycling trucks
- Trains and buses
- Public parks
- Other public services
A government agency is also potentially liable if one of its employees causes an incident or injuries while on the clock and working. This is the same legal doctrine that allows victims to pursue cases against trucking companies when a driver acts carelessly and causes a crash, respondeat superior.
How Can an Attorney Familiar With Claims Against the Government Help Me?
Claims against a government agency are unusual. They have their rules and strict protocols to meet. Without someone on your side to help you understand and navigate the process properly, you could miss key deadlines or file the wrong paperwork, causing a delay or losing your right to seek compensation.
In addition, claims against a government agency often force victims’ attorneys to go toe to toe with government lawyers. This is not a situation you want to handle on your own. Having a legal team protects your rights and helps ensure a smooth process.
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What Are My Recoverable Damages?
When pursuing legal action against a government agency, most states have caps on some or all parts of the financial recovery. While many of the same recoverable damages are available, as in a case against another individual or private business, you might not have access to their full value.
For example, the recoverable damages in a car accident case often include:
- Medical care costs, current and future
- Care and support expenses
- Income lost due to missing work
- Diminished earning capacity for lasting injuries
- Property damages
- Miscellaneous expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
Under Maryland law, a $400,000 cap on recovering compensation from a government agency exists. If your recoverable damages add to $600,000, you will not recover the additional $200,000 beyond the cap. This is true in negotiated settlements and trial verdicts.
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What Should I Do Today If My Accident and Injury Were Caused by a Government Agency?
The timeline for taking action in a case against a government agency differs from the applicable statute of limitations in most personal injury cases. You must meet these deadlines to hold the agency accountable and recover compensation.
Because evidence sometimes disappears quickly, you should contact a lawyer familiar with these cases quickly after your injuries are stable. For those with catastrophic injuries, a loved one can call in the first days or weeks following the incident.
The sooner your legal team can go to work, the more evidence that might be available to support your case against the municipal, county, state, or federal government. Crucial evidence, such as eyewitness statements and video of the incident, could disappear within a few weeks of an injury.
Talk to Our Team About Your Case Today for Free
Connect with the Jenner Law personal injury team to discuss your case and legal options for free today. We provide complimentary initial case reviews. We will answer your questions, explain your next steps, and explain how we can help.
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