Claims Against a Government Agency
If you have a claim against a governmental entity, such as a town, municipality, county, or state, certain requirements must be met. A verified claim form must be served on the authorized agent for the governmental entity. Serving a valid claim form on the government is a prerequisite to bringing a legal case against the government. The name and address of the authorized agent who can accept service of the claim form is required to be kept as a matter of public record with the auditor in the county in which the entity is located. With claims against the state of Washington, the agent who is authorized to accept service of the claim form is the state’s Division of Risk Management in Olympia, Washington.
To be valid, the claim form must contain certain information, including a description of the conduct and circumstances that brought about the injury or damage, a description of the injury or damage, the time and place the injury or damage occurred, the names of all persons involved, the residence of the claimant for a period of six months immediately before the claim arose, and a statement of the amount of damages claimed.
It is important to note that the content and service of the claim form must substantially comply with the requirements of the statute. Failure to comply substantially may result in the claim being denied and/or dismissed by a court of law. Once a claim form has been properly verified, presented and served on the appropriate governmental entity, you must wait a period of 60 days before a lawsuit can be filed in court. The failure to wait 60 days is a fatal mistake that will invalidate the claim and result in the dismissal of the case. The filing and presenting of claims against a governmental entity can be complex and confusing, so you are wise to consult with or retain an attorney as soon as possible following the accident.
Seattle personal injury attorney Chris Davis has nearly 20 years of experience in law, including government agency claims. If you have been injured by the neglect of a government agency, call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 to schedule a free consultation.