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What Should You Do When Your Personal Injury Claim Is Against the Government?

By: Fred Moore | Dec 5, 2020

When you’re hurt due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury claim is a legal remedy you may pursue to recover damages. But what happens when you’re injured due to the negligence of a government entity or employee? The attorneys at Moore Law Firm realize that winning a personal injury claim against the government is challenging.

Understanding the special protections that many governmental agencies enjoy and following Alabama’s strict guidelines for bringing a personal injury claim against them is vital. An experienced lawyer can advise you if local or federal laws and regulations apply in your case.

Personal Injury Claims Against the Government in Alabama

The Alabama Constitution provides protections for the state and claims “the State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity.” This is based on the idea of sovereign immunity, which stems from the old English concept that no one could hold the king accountable for any wrongdoing since the king made the laws. Although there are very few exceptions in Alabama, each U.S. state still considers this rule, which makes it tough to win or even bring a personal injury claim against the government.

Alabama law provides distinctions between claims against state government entities and claims against its employees acting as individuals. Practically all state claims in Alabama are barred due to immunity. Still, state-agent claims involving individual employees are allowed if the employee who caused harm failed to act in good faith and behaved, “contrary to clearly established law.” 

If you’re unfamiliar with Alabama law and the processes involved in filing this type of claim, you likely won’t get far if you attempt to file a lawsuit on your own. That’s why it’s vital to contact a personal injury attorney who can assess your case and advise you of your options.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim Against a Government Employee or Entity

Although these claims can be filed in the state’s civil court, it’s vital to determine whether your claim is against an employee of the state or local government, such as a county or city worker. Rules vary by jurisdiction, so seeking the counsel of a local personal injury lawyer who understands the ins and outs of state and municipal law is critical. It’s important to act fast. In Alabama, formal claims against a municipality must be brought within six months of the date of injury and within one year if you’re filing a claim against a county.

If you’re bringing a claim against a state worker, the Alabama statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically two years from the date of the accident or injury. Other exceptions apply in cases involving minors. If an injured victim is a minor in the state of Alabama (19), the statute of limitations begins when they turn 19.

What Is a Notice of Claim?

Most federal, state, and local governments require you to file a Notice of Claim with the proper agency before actually filing a lawsuit. The Notice of Claim’s purpose is to inform the government of your intention to bring a suit against them. Having a lawyer assist you with your Notice of Claim is important because it must be filed with the proper agency within strict deadlines and contain specific information, such as explaining what occurred, evidence of your injuries, and other vital information. If a Notice of Claim isn’t properly executed, it may be denied before you even get a chance to file a lawsuit.

Why You Should Consult a Lawyer Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Bringing a personal injury claim against the government is a complex process. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and work on contingency, meaning you won’t owe attorney fees unless compensation is recovered in your case. Having an experienced attorney handling lawsuits against government entities evaluate your case is a win-win. Even if they determine that you don’t have a viable claim, at least you won’t have to expend time and energy filing a claim only to have it be denied. If a personal injury attorney advises you to proceed with your claim, you’ll have someone by your side to guide you through the process, acting as your advocate.

Contact a Mobile Personal Injury Lawyer

Our team at Moore Law Firm in Mobile, Alabama, understands that filing a personal injury claim against the government can be daunting. Our personal injury attorneys have more than 35 years of experience handling claims against local, state, and federal governmental agencies. We care about our clients and fight aggressively to help you recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve. Call us at 251-445-7602, use the convenient chat feature on our website, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.