Generally, if you are injured because of somebody else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you can sue for damages. However, the situation is more complicated when the party responsible for your injuries is a governmental entity or a government employee. Government entities have sovereign immunity, meaning that they cannot be sued except in those situations in which they have expressly consented to suit. You may be able to sue for injuries that resulted from government negligence in Arizona, but you will need to follow certain special procedures. Phoenix government negligence lawyer Freddy Saavedra can make sure that you meet the applicable requirements.
Claims Based on Government Negligence
Under the Arizona Tort Claims Act, there are particular rules about when somebody who is injured can file a claim against the government. There are a number of exceptions to sovereign immunity in Arizona. The government cannot be sued for failures during property inspections or injuries caused by providing emergency care, unless you can show gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
However, the government can usually be held responsible for personal injury and premises liability lawsuits arising out of its negligence if it could have been held responsible were it a private party. In most cases against a governmental entity, you will need to establish that the governmental entity had a duty of care, it breached its duty of care, the breach caused your injuries, and the accident case is not affected by sovereign immunity. For example, if you are injured at a state courthouse due to a broken step that the state failed to repair, a government negligence attorney in Phoenix may be able to hold the state responsible for that accident.
Claims procedures will need to be followed, and these procedures may be different depending on whether a federal, state, or local government entity is to be held responsible.
Filing a Claim Against a Government Entity
Generally, to sue the state of Arizona, you need to file a written claim with the agency responsible for the harm within 180 days of being injured. The written claim needs to describe what happened, how your injuries were sustained, and how much money you are claiming, while providing facts to support the amount that you claim. For example, you will need to include bills to claim a particular sum in medical losses.
You can be barred from recovering damages at all if you do not file the claim within 180 days, even if you are grievously injured. There is an exception for minors under age 18 and people found incompetent by the court.
The state will have 60 days to respond to the filed written claim. If you do not get a written response in 60 days, it is considered a denial. A Phoenix government negligence attorney then can help you file your personal injury lawsuit in court.
If you are suing a local government, you will need to follow different claims procedures. For example, if you are injured on a city bus as a result of a bus driver’s negligence in driving under the influence, you may try to hold the city accountable. It is vital to consult an attorney who understands how to hold potential parties responsible and which procedures must be followed.
Seek Guidance from an Experienced Phoenix Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident involving a government entity, our first step will be to determine whether the entity is federal, state, or municipal. Different procedural and substantive rules may apply for each level of government. Sometimes the doctrine of sovereign immunity prevents a claim, but you should always talk to a skillful personal injury attorney who has experience handling claims against the government. If you have been harmed because of government negligence in Maricopa County, you should consult Attorney Freddy Saavedra. Call us at 602-753-8917 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a government negligence lawyer in Phoenix.