Government Involved as a Party
If you are injured due to someone else's negligence, they should be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. However, in most cases, the person responsible won't admit that they did something wrong and offer to pay for your injuries. Instead, you may have to file a lawsuit to make sure you can recover your damages.
In personal injury cases, the government could include the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or various governmental departments. Many individuals are injured while on public transportation in Philadelphia, so they may bring a claim against SEPTA as a government agency. Additionally, many people are injured by dangerous conditions on city property. They may file a claim against the City of Philadelphia for a slip and fall in a city building.
Not all government divisions are easily identified as government agencies. If you are unsure whether an individual or entity is part of the government, talk to your attorney. They will investigate your claim and identify all possible defendants, including any government actors.
When the government is involved as a party in your case, there are certain requirements you must meet before you can seek damages from the federal, state, or local government agency. The requirements are generally more strict than filing a claim against another person or business. If you don't meet the requirements and don't follow the regulations, your claim may be denied.
If your claim is denied, you may have to pay for your medical bills, and you won't be paid for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may have suffered. With so much on the line, make sure you talk to your attorney as soon as you can. There are strict deadlines that limit when you can file a claim against the government.
Government Notice Requirement Deadlines
For injury cases involving the government, there may be a time limit to notify the government that you will file a claim. This may depend on whether the government employee or department is with the federal, state, county, or city government. Most personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations. However, claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the City of Philadelphia only have a 6-month window to file your notice of claim.
Claims against federal employees or U.S. government departments may have a different claim timeline. The injured individual generally has to file an administrative claim with the proper federal agency within a two-year time period. The federal agency has 6 months to respond to the claim. If the claim is rejected, the injured party has 6 months to file a federal lawsuit.
You may have been injured due to the negligent actions of an individual who is a government employee. However, you may be unsure whether you can get damages from the employee or the employer. Under the theory of respondeat superior, an employer may be liable for the negligent actions of their employee.
Filing a lawsuit against the employer and the employee may help guarantee that together they have the financial resources and liability coverage to pay for your damages.
For the employer to be liable, the employee generally has to be working within the scope of their employment at the time they negligently caused your accident. For example, if a SEPTA bus driver was speeding and hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian would be able to sue the driver and SEPTA to seek damages.
If you are unsure whether the person who caused your injuries was working in the scope of their employment at the time, talk to your attorney. Your Philadelphia personal injury attorney will identify the responsible parties, including any government agencies that may be liable.
Philadelphia Attorney Representation
Filing a Philadelphia personal injury lawsuit can be complicated when the government is involved. There are strict deadlines and specific filing requirements. This is why it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney with experience handling cases against the government. Contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation. We will investigate your claim to make sure all responsible parties are identified, to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.