If you have been seriously injured as a result of the negligence of a city, county, or other government agency or entity, you may be left with no choice but to pursue a personal injury claim against the government.
There are a number of factors that make it difficult and complex to pursue a personal injury claim against a government agency. These entities have in-house legal teams that vigorously defend against personal injury claims, regardless of whether the government is truly responsible for the victim's injuries.
When is Hiring a Lawyer Necessary?
In some instances, accident victims may be able to resolve injury claims with the government on their own, without hiring an attorney to represent them. For smaller and less-damaging claims, government agencies are more likely to cooperate with victims and offer fair compensation.
When an accident victim's injuries are more serious, however, the cost of resolving a claim is typically much higher and the government is much more likely to defend against the case. At this point, the insurance company that covers the government agency will typically do whatever they can to devalue a victim's claim or deny it completely. This is when it may be a good time to consider hiring a qualified personal injury attorney.
Examples of lawsuits against Washington state government include:
- Suing the City of Seattle
- Suing the City of Bellevue
- Suing King County
- Suing the City of Tacoma
- Suing the School Board
- Suing the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC)
- Suing the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Suing the Washing State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
Filing a lawsuit against the state, a county or a municipality is not like suing a corporation or individual. There are special procedures and specific court rules that are required when suing a governmental entity. As the victim of negligence by a governmental entity you must be very careful in filing a claim as special rules apply and if you fail to follow those rules, the courts may decline to hear your case and you could be left with nothing.
Davis Law Group frequently works with people who feel they have been wronged by the government. In addition to getting financial compensation for our client's injuries we also seek to bring about change in our community to make Washington State a better place.
For example, we previously represented the estate of a man who was tragically killed in a high-speed car crash with a wanted violent felon who ran a red light. The felon was allowed to roam free while having multiple warrants out for her arrest, and the Department of Corrections failed to properly supervise her despite having concrete knowledge of her whereabouts. You can read more about this case here.
Important Steps To Follow When Suing The Government
If you have a claim against a governmental entity, 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.
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.