Federal Tort Claims
Accidents Involving Public Entities or Public Property
When a person is injured in an automobile accident with a government vehicle, or slips and falls on public property, the injury is the same as if the accident occurred with a private individual or on private property. However, the way in which a claim for compensation proceeds is very different. If your personal injury claim involves Connecticut or federal employees or property, make sure you hire a law firm that understands the important distinctions when dealing with an accident involving public entities or public property.
Federal Tort Claims Act Issues
Under a legal concept known as sovereign immunity, the government cannot be sued unless it consents to be sued. Fortunately, Congress has passed the Federal Tort Claims Act. This federal law waives the government’s sovereign immunity and allows individuals to bring a claim for money damages against the government for personal injury, wrongful death or property damage caused by a federal employee’s negligence committed in the scope of his or her employment.
Rather than suing the government in court like it were a private business entity, there are specific procedures that must be followed in pursuing a tort claim for personal injury against the government. One important step is that a notice of the claim must be submitted in writing to the appropriate government agency within two years of the accident, and failure to do so can keep you from recovering compensation. There are other important steps to know as well, in order to be successful on your claim. Hiring an experienced injury law firm will help ensure that the proper steps are taken in pursuing a government tort claim.
Connecticut Government Claims
The state of Connecticut also has its own procedure for claims against the state government. Such claims must go through the Claims Commissioner. The Commissioner has the authority to approve immediate payment of “just claims” up to $7,500, but claims over this amount must go to the General Assembly for approval. The General Assembly can also authorize the claimant to sue the state in court, and some state statutes allow an injured party to go straight to court and bypass the Claims Commissioner. Examples of such exceptions include auto accidents caused by a defective road or bridge, or involving a state-owned motor vehicle.
One of the most important things to know about claims against the state government is that you only have one year to bring your claim, or you can be kept from recovering compensation for your injuries. This is shorter than the federal timeframe and can pass by quickly, so contact an attorney soon after the accident to preserve your claim.
Municipal Government Claims
Generally speaking, municipalities do not enjoy sovereign immunity and can be sued in court for injuries caused by their employees, or for dangerous conditions on their property. Municipalities do have some limited immunity for discretionary actions of their employees or their willful misconduct. Municipal employees can be held personally liable for certain acts of negligence.
Call The Upton Law Firm for Help with Accidents on Public Property in Connecticut
If you have suffered an injury on government property, in a state-run medical facility, or by a state or federal employee in a car accident or other incident, contact the Connecticut injury attorneys at The Upton Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your claims.