Accidents and injuries can happen anytime and anywhere and, in some cases, the government or one of its employees may be responsible for the accident. For instance, c person could be injured in a slip and fall accident at a city park, a child may be the victim of a swimming pool accident at a public pool, or a patient at a veterans’ hospital may be the victim of medical malpractice. In all of these cases, a government agency or employee may be responsible for the accident or injuries.
Pursing a personal injury claim against the government is not without its challenges, however. In many cases, the government (whether municipal, state, or federal government) has broad immunity from certain types of lawsuits. For instance, as we reported, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Moore v. Chicago Park District that publicly-owned recreational facilities have broad immunity from liability to users who fall on snow or ice.
Lawsuits brought against the federal government must be brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Although the FTCA says that the federal government is liable for torts, there are a number of exceptions and limitations on liability. For instance, only federal employees can be sued under the FTCA, not independent contractors hired by the federal government, and the negligent or wrongful conduct must have been done within the scope of the federal employee’s employment. Generally, only negligence claims can be pursued (not intentional torts) and the claim must be permitted by the laws of the state in which the negligent conduct took place.
Permissible claims must be filed with the federal agency responsible for the misconduct within two years of the incident. Once a claim is submitted, the federal agency has six months in which to respond. In some cases, the federal agency will admit liability and offer a settlement. Oftentimes, the federal agency will deny liability, in which case the injured party can choose to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Whether an accident or injury was caused by a municipal, state, or federal government employee, it is highly recommended that you retain a skilled personal injury attorney to help you pursue any causes of action. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Ankin Law, LLC focus on representing accident and injury victims in a wide variety of claims, including auto accident claims, medical malpractice, product liability, and premises liability. Because of our vast experience and knowledge, our Illinois accident and injury lawyers are well-equipped to handle the legal hurdles and challenges involved with pursuing a claim of negligence against the government, including those falling under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence by a government agency or employee, do not delay. There are strict time limitations on when a legal claim against the government can be asserted, and it is important to begin the factual investigation as soon as possible. Contact our office at (312) 481-6405 today to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys.