Updated on: 2/5/2019
Sometimes a person is injured by the negligence of a person employed by the government, (state and federal employees are the most likely to come to mind, but counties and cities have their own distinct set of employees as well). The injured person has a personal injury claim against a government agency or entity, not just the person who caused the harm. Certain requirements must first be met before a claim can be successfully pursued.
First, the claim must be verified (this process usually requires legal counsel) and then it must be served to the person in charge of receiving claims against that government. 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.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against A Government Entity
The claim form must contain certain information. This information includes a description of the conduct and circumstances which 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. Not including this information will disqualify the claim.
A claim brought on behalf of a minor child can be verified and presented by the child’s relative, attorney, or agent representing the child. It is important to note that the content and service of the claim form must substantially comply with the requirements of the statute. Again, the failure to substantially comply may result in the claim being denied and/or dismissed by a court of law.
Once a governmental claim form has been properly verified, presented and served on the appropriate governmental entity, a period of 60 days must elapse before a lawsuit can be initiated. The failure to wait 60 days is another 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 the claimant is wise to consult with or retain counsel.