How can an individual bring a personal injury lawsuit against the U.S. government or a state or local government? Can a government employee be held responsible for negligence that caused an injury to that person? What is the meaning of government “sovereign immunity” to liability and lawsuits?
Many governments and their subdivisions are entitled to immunity to liability and lawsuits, meaning that they cannot ordinarily be sued without permission. However, most governments have rules that exempt them from immunity to claims for vehicle crashes, premises liability, wrongful death, or medical malpractice.
According to findlaw.com, “Most governments have enacted laws (usually called “Tort Claims Acts”) that contain rules for filing an injury claim against them.” If a plaintiff complies with the rules established in such a law, a federal, state, or city governments will waive its immunity and become legally liable for an accident or injury. Most of these laws mandate giving the government in question prompt notice of your claim in order to receive compensation for injuries caused by that government.
In North Carolina, the North Carolina Tort Claims Act (NCTCA) establishes the rules for immunity.
According to nolo.com, “Filing an injury claim against the government … can be an uphill battle,” and you will need an experienced attorney to navigate its details. Under the NCTCA,
the state “waives” its sovereign immunity, allowing itself to be sued if a state officer, employee, or agent negligently causes harm while acting within the scope of their duties. The NCTCA applies in any case where the state could be sued if it were a private entity.”
The federal government allows personal injury lawsuits against its employees when the incident occurred while they were acting within the scope of their employment. Under the 1946 Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The federal government acts as a self-insurer, and takes on the role of defendant in such a lawsuit, bearing the liability and paying FTCA claims.
The FTCA contains many limitations that mandate the conditions for filing a personal injury lawsuit, e.g., they are only allowed in claims of negligence as opposed to intentional acts. Limitations can be waived in certain circumstances, such as lawsuits against some federal law enforcement personnel.
An experienced personal injury attorney will prepare your claim to ensure that it is correctly filed to be eligible for compensation under the FTCA.
Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in wills and estates, litigation and settlements, with a focus on workers’ compensation and personal injury law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (336) 882-2000.