Civil suits against the government aren’t unheard of but the law surely provides a certain level of immunity and protection for claims made against local (city and county) and state government entities. The language as outlined in the below steps may look very confusing, but it really is not too difficult to start the process to sue these offices for negligence.1) File a Notice Within Given Timeline
It’s important injured accident victims understand that if responsible for any part of the incident, a property damage or personal injury claim form will be difficult to file. Just as important, under Indiana’s Tort Claims Act, all forms must be filed within a respected time frame to either the state attorney general’s office or with the local or municipal government. Do not delay. Claims made outside of these timelines will be rejected.
Claims Against the Indiana State Government: The notice to file form must be submitted within 270 days if the claim involves the state government. The State of Indiana provides claim filing forms on its official website.
Claims Against a Local or Municipal Government in Indiana: Under
Indiana Code section 34-13-3-8, the law specifies that the injured person must file notice within 180 days of the injury.
2) Prepare for a Decision
The notice to file either of these claims is the first step in allowing the government to review the incident. The State of Indiana is set to respond after 90 days and local or county governments may take longer. Throughout this process, claimants need to remember that filing a notice doesn’t mean the case will move forward. The government office may be entitled to immunity especially when the statute of limitations continues to run while victims are left waiting for a response.
3) Seek Help to Sue
If the government decides to deny the claim, victims then have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the entity in civil court. If the injured victim has not consulted with a personal injury attorney prior to filing the notice, a lawyer can help to file a lawsuit.
Damages under Indiana’s tort claims act are limited. For injuries or deaths that occur after January 1, 2008, damages are capped at $700,000. Also, an injured person may not seek punitive damages in a claim against the government in Indiana.
Covered by the state’s Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities and Public Employees Act there are several common types of tort claims that can be brought against an Indiana government entity including claims involving:
Jail and prison inmate injury claims are filed through different federal and state tort claim procedures. While federal correctional institutions have protections covering wardens, guards and administrative workers, inmates are allowed a waiver of this protection if prison injuries were due to negligence. To file a personal injury state or federal tort claim, the inmate must prove these three key elements within the inmate’s claim of injury in prison or jail, or the claim will be denied.
Inmates have a different notice or intent to seek damages process when filing a claim against the federal government for injuries. If the Justice Department admits a claim for damages, the inmate will get paid. If it denies the claim, the inmate has six months from the day the department refuses the claim to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.
As such, many injury claims against local and state governments may not qualify as compensable. Those include:
As the list shows, proving fault of the injury related to any of these events can make the process of suing the government much more confusing and difficult than filing a suit against a non-government entity. To get a better understanding, as soon as you are able, reach out to an experienced Indiana attorney at Wagner Reese prior to filing your injury claim notice or upon hearing your notice decision.
It’s difficult to file a personal injury claim against the government but victims should be able to be compensated. Call us today for a no-cost, risk-free consultation: . You can also share additional details with us by submitting our online form.