After a slip and fall in a grocery store, the grocery store or property owner is generally liable for the accident. However, if you slip and fall and suffer an injury in a government building, who is liable for your damages? If you are injured in a slip and fall injury on government property, the local, county, or state agency may be liable for your injuries.
For example, a couple rents out the chapel at Leakin Park for their wedding ceremony. During the wedding day, a guest is walking up the steps of the chapel and a loose stair breaks off, causing the guest to fall and break a hip. The City of Baltimore owns and rents out the Leakin Park chapel and may be liable to the injured guest for their damages.
State and federal governments generally have sovereign immunity from being sued without the government's consent. However, federal and state governments may waive sovereign immunity in personal injury cases. This allows an injury victim to recover for negligence of a government agency or employee.
Who is Responsible for the Accident?
Before filing a claim against the government, you may need to identify who was responsible. For example, if the injury occurred in an office building where a state agency was a tenant, the property owner may be liable. After an accident, you may not have the time and resources to run around and investigate everyone who may be responsible for the accident. This is where the experience of a personal injury attorney can be so valuable.
Your attorney can investigate your accident, identify all the parties who may be liable, and serve notice of the claim against those parties to make sure you can recover damages from those responsible. An accident investigation can take some time, so it is important to contact your attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Filing a Claim Against the Government
The parties responsible for slip and fall injuries may depend on the level of government where the accident occurred. This can include:
- Federal Government
- Maryland State Government
- Pennsylvania Commonwealth
- County Government
- City of Philadelphia
- City of Baltimore
The Federal Tort Claims Act allows for personal injury lawsuits by private citizens for any injuries caused by a government employee. Similarly, Maryland passed the Maryland Tort Claims Act which allows for personal lawsuits to be filed against the State. Local governments, like cities and counties, may also have also waived immunity under what is known as the Local Tort Claims Notice Acts.
Notice Requirement for Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
Personal injury claims against a government employee or agency may be different than claims against other parties. There may be a notice requirement to let the government agency know about the claim. These notice requirement deadlines may be shorter than the standard statute of limitations.
Notice claims deadlines may be as short as 6-months from the date of the incident. This means you need to act quickly after an accident to file a notice or you could risk losing out on your right to compensation.
Federal Notice Requirements
A personal injury claim against the federal government requires that you first file an administrative claim with the federal agency at fault for your injury within 2 years of the injury. If the agency then denies your claim, you have six months from the date of the mailing of the denial to file a lawsuit.
For example, a tourist is touring the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. An employee at the mint drops a heavy box of coins on the tourist's foot, breaking the tourist's toes. The employee wants to bring a claim against the agency and employee for medical bills and lost wages. The tourist generally needs to file an administrative claim with the U.S. Mint or Department of the Treasury within 2 years of the accident.
State of Maryland Notice Requirements
If a State of Maryland employee is responsible for your slip and fall or another injury, you must file a notice of claim with the state within 365 days of the accident. If you file a notice of claim 366 days after the incident, the state may deny your claim.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Notice Requirements
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5522, an injury victim must send written notice of their personal injury claim to the government agency within 6 months of the accident. Failure to provide written notice of the claim and required information may result in the Commonwealth dismissing the injury victim's claim.
Personal Injury Representation Against the City
If you need legal representation after an injury accident, contact the attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC. Our firm focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. We have the legal team that can provide you the support and dedication your case needs. There is no fee for an initial consultation. Call 1.800.592.6162 today.