Is It Impossible to Sue a Government Agency?
Many people find themselves filing a claim against another individual or a company at some point in their lives. But what do you do when the party at fault is a government agency or employee? Do they have immunity against such claims? We’ve all heard the old adage, “You can’t fight city hall.” But, in truth, the simple answer is, “No.” They are not above the law nor immune from civil liability. Despite what many believe, the government, whether it be city, county, state or federal, can be held liable in court for their actions, just like any individual. You absolutely can sue a government agency, but there are specific guidelines that must be followed.
The main point to remember when filing a claim to sue a government agency is the statute of limitations. Although these can vary from entity to entity and state to state, all of them require that you contact the party in writing stating your intentions within a prescribed period of time. If you fail to do so, you forfeit all rights to a claim. Missing this deadline will effectively nullify any claim you have, however justified you may be.
The Government Must Respond to Your Claim
The government entity then has a set period of time, from the date that the accident occurred, to review your claim and notify you of their intentions. But be warned: just because you have been injured while involved with a government entity does not automatically mean that they can be held liable. What may appear as an open-and-shut case to you might not be as clear from the other side.
Bringing a claim against a government entity will require a massive amount of proof and patience. The process is made purposely difficult in order to keep fraudulent and frivolous claims, by individuals looking for easy money, to a minimum. Even if the entity decides that your claim is legitimate enough to pursue, this may be only the beginning of a very long and complicated process.
Government Employees Can Sue Their Employers
The rules for filing a claim are different for employees than for citizens. Government employees, while still protected by federal employee laws, also have a certain obligation to the government entity. They will have to be investigated to make sure that they were operating within the confines of their job when they became injured. Citizens also have a set of responsibilities that have to have been followed in order to be eligible to file a claim.
Since there are so many loopholes, gray areas, and guidelines that have to be met in a particular manner and within a specified period of time, it is advisable that you seek the services of an experienced attorney to guide your claim. A government entity, no matter how small, will have its own professionals in place to protect its best interests. You deserve no less.
For Additional Information
- Filing Claims Against the Government
- The Sacramento Press
- Los Angeles County Consumer and Business Affairs
Laurence Mandell is an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Laurence Mandell is the managing partner of The Mandell Law Firm, an aggressive personal injury and wrongful death law firm in Woodland Hills, California serving clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, the Greater Los Angeles area and Southern California. Experienced and reputable, our attorneys provide hands-on care and sincere commitment to victims of personal injury of all kinds, including disputes with government agencies and negligence. If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, contact Laurence Mandell for a free consultation at 818.886.6600.