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Every citizen across the United States has the legal right to sue any level of government agency. From the municipal, county, state and federal government level, ordinary citizens have the power to hold their governments financially accountable for any damages or injuries inflicted upon them and their families. However, like most bureaucracies, the process is not easy to understand and there is plenty of paperwork to sift through.
Let’s start with something small. Can I sue the city for a car accident? The short answer is yes! However, before you start the long and complicated process, you’ll want to work with an experienced attorney like those at Avrek Law. They will help you understand all of your legal options and the time-sensitive process required to hold any type of government to account. Making the hard deadlines and properly filing your claim are critical for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Getting rear-ended by a city-owned garbage truck, for example, may seem like an open and shut case. However, taking legal action against a government employee is complicated. This is especially true when you consider the statute of limitations for suing a government agency can differ from state to state, county to county and even city to city. There are also a set of special rules you must follow before you even have the legal option to sue for damages.
Thanks to the Federal Tort Claims Act (passed in 1946), there is a framework for citizens across the United States to sue government agencies for any personal injuries and property damage due to negligence on behalf of an agency and its employees. The act also changes the standard legal process, giving the lawsuit its own special set of rules and timelines that must be followed to make a successful claim.
Another major difference from a typical lawsuit is that it’s difficult to directly sue the government employee responsible as they may be exempt from prosecution due to the Westfall Act. It states: The general rule is that federal employees enjoy absolute immunity from tort claims that challenge negligent or wrongful acts performed while acting within the scope of government employment.
The best way to file a lawsuit against the city is to contact a qualified attorney from a firm like Avrek Law to help you with your case.
When you look at California as an example, the typical statute of limitations for a claim involving property damage is three years from the date of the accident. However, lawsuits against the federal government and other government agencies are different — especially if the accident occurs on government property.
If that city-owned garbage truck damages your vehicle and you’re suffering from personal injuries as a result, you only have six months to make a special “administrative claim”. The government then has 45 days to respond. If they deny your claim, you only have six months to file a lawsuit for property damage and two years to file for personal injuries. It’s important to note that six months is not a lot of time to make a claim if you are suffering from serious and life changing injuries as a result of the accident.
Injuries sustained on government property have their own set of rules to follow. For example, consider a playground injury lawsuit. Public schools are meant to be a safe place for children to learn and play, but life on the playground can come with bumps, bruises and sometimes broken bones. In California, school districts do have sovereign immunity when injuries occur at a public school, however, due to the California Tort Claims Act government agencies have the right to waive their immunity. In this case, they would then follow a similar process to making an “administrative claim.”
What are your legal options if you’re a government employee and injured in the workplace? If you’re a federal or state worker in California and injured on the job, you only have six months to file your lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances you may have up to a year to make your claim, and the statute of limitations might change as well. This is another reason why you should contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines to making your claim.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident Involving Government Property?
Even a minor car accident can cause several long-term health impacts that could negatively affect your ability to work and support your family. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of suing the government for compensation — even if it’s something minor.
If you’re left thinking, “Can I sue the city for a car accident?” contact Avrek Law. They have more than 50 years combined experience representing cases in several states that involve government agencies. The consultation is free and you’ll get advice from a law firm with more than $1 billion recovered in more than 45,000 cases. View one of our locations or contact us for a free accident consultation.