You are walking down the street when you suddenly lose your balance, tripping over the crumbling edge of the sidewalk. When you land, you hit your elbow and dislocate it. You call 911 to go to the emergency room. Now, you face months of rehabilitation, because your tendons and ligaments tore in the fall. You can’t work, because you aren’t able to move your arm like you used to or bear weight on the joint. What can you do? Is the government likely to cover your medical expenses? Here are a few things to remember.
1. Governments have sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity is when the government retains complete immunity from being sued or found liable for any lawsuit. This used to make it nearly impossible to sue a local or federal government, but today’s laws have loosened. The Federal Tort Claims Act waives sovereign immunity in some circumstances.
2. The government has a low standard of care requirement
While a small business is held to a high standard of care and must keep a premises safe for customers and visitors, the same is not always true for the government. When an unusual or unexpected danger arises, a government may be immune to claims arising from them, because it would have no idea that the danger even existed. Without knowing about the danger, there’s no way to prevent it or to protect against it. To win your case, you’ll want to show that the government knew about an issue, like pot holes on the road, for example, and failed to take steps to remedy them.
3. Notice requirements are different when the government’s involved
When it comes to filing a claim against the government, it’s important to do so as soon as possible. There are various rules and regulations you must follow when filing a claim, which your attorney can help you with. There are claim requirements and notice requirements that you must meet, or your claim could be denied quickly.
The government is a difficult entity to sue, but your attorney can help. With the right information on state laws, evidence of your injuries and proof of the negligence the city showed to you, there’s a chance you can receive a settlement for the compensation you need as you recover.