Governments operate many facilities for the use of the public. They’re also in charge of maintaining infrastructure such as roads and bridges. What happens if that infrastructure or the actions of a government employee or entity are factors in an accident that causes injury or death?
In other cases of such liability, you have the right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses. But can you file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit against a local, state, or federal government? The answer is yes, but you may find your options are a bit more limited than they might be in other cases.
Can You Sue the Federal Government for Personal Injury?
Yes, there are times when you can sue federal government agencies for personal injury. This is typically possible when a federal employee was liable in the accident or incident that caused the injury. However, there are limitations as to when and how you can bring action against federal agencies and employees.
What Is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
The Federal Tort Claims Act is a law that dates back to the mid 1940s. It creates provisions for filing claims against the federal government in cases of personal injury. Ultimately, the law allows the federal government to act as a self-insurer and pay out on claims for injuries that are caused by the liability of its agents or employees.
When filing a claim under the FTCA, you may have to follow a different procedure than you would when filing a general lawsuit. It’s also important to note that the FTCA doesn’t cover all accidents and liability incidents. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand whether you can file a claim under the FTCA or whether you need to file a lawsuit against a government agency or someone else in your case.
Can You Seek Compensation From the State of Colorado in Personal Injury Cases?
Yes, the state of Colorado and its agencies can be held liable in certain personal injury cases. As with the federal government, there are limitations on when you can effectively sue or make a claim against the state.
What Is the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act?
The Colorado Governmental Immunity Act is a state law that limits the liability of state government entities and employees for certain types of claims. To successfully file a lawsuit or claim against the state government for personal injury, the case must fall into one of the eight areas waived under the CGIA Act.
Times when you may be able to sue the state government for liability in an injury include:
- When the incident occurred and was the fault of a state employee who was operating a vehicle in the course of their employment and the vehicle was owned or leased by a state entity
- In a case of premises liability that occurred in the course of a state entity operating a public jail, correctional facility, or hospital
- When an injury may have been caused by the condition of a public street, road or highway
- When an injury might have been caused by the condition of a public building
- When an injury might have been caused by the condition of a public premises such as a park, recreational area, swimming pool, or any utility maintained by the state
- When the accident was related to any asset or equipment operated by or maintained under a state lease
- When an injury was related to the operation of public utilities managed by the state
- When an injury was related to a failure to property vet public education employees
Can You Sue Local Government Agencies?
Yes, when local government agencies or their employees are potentially liable for an accident that leads to personal injury, you can often sue them. Some of the same limitations that occur when filing claims against federal or state entities may exist here as well.
Things to Consider When Seeking Compensation From a Government Entity
In cases involving a claim with a government agency, you may have to follow exact guidelines. That includes the timely filing of very specific forms giving notice of your claims, providing certain pieces of information to various agencies, or completing a claim within a certain amount of time. Failure to attend to such details could mean the case is ignored, thrown out, or otherwise lost.
For these reasons, it’s important to act quickly when you are facing a personal injury case that may involve a government entity. It’s also essential to have an experienced professional on your side, as you can be certain the government will have plenty of legal resources on its side.
Should You File a Claim Against the Government?
Whether or not you should include a government agency in your lawsuit depends on a variety of factors. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your case and help you understand who should be named in any lawsuit you might file. Naming the right government entity is critical to increasing the potential for a successful outcome, so reach out to Fuller Law now to schedule an appointment and learn how best to proceed with your case.