If you sustain an injury that was not your fault in a government building – or on any public property in Southern California – speak at once with a Pasadena premises liability attorney about your legal rights and options.
Public properties – the buildings, sidewalks, parks, and streets that are the government’s responsibility – must be kept safe and free from hazards. If a government building is not properly maintained, and if you’re injured because of that poor maintenance, what is your recourse?
If you’re injured in a government building – if you trip over curled-up carpeting at a school, a library, or a city hall, for example, and you’re injured – can you sue the government for negligence? Can you recover compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses?
If you will read this brief discussion of public property and your rights, you’ll find the answers, but if you have personally been injured in a government building, or if you’re injured that way in the future, you’ll also need the services that a Pasadena premises liability lawyer will provide.
When is the Government at Fault for Someone’s Injury?
If you are injured in California because of a hazard in a federal, state, county, or municipal building, the federal, state, county, or municipal agency that is responsible for that building may, in some cases, be held accountable for your personal injury.
In 1948, the Federal Tort Claims Act was enacted. It enables you to sue the federal government if you’re injured by the negligence of federal employees or because of negligence on federal property.
Since 1948, many states and local governments have also allowed the injured victims of negligence to pursue compensation after they have been injured on state or local government property.
What is Required When You Sue a Government Agency?
However, there are several differences between bringing an injury claim against a business or an individual and bringing an injury claim against a government or government agency. When you sue the government, the deadlines are different, and several additional steps are required.
If you’re injured in a government building, a premises liability attorney can explain the rules for filing an injury claim against a government agency. You should be advised and guided by a California premises liability attorney from the very beginning of the claim process.
Some government agencies in California give you only thirty days from the date you were injured to begin the claim process, and deadlines vary among these agencies, so you must contact a Pasadena premises liability attorney as soon as you have been treated for your injury.
What Steps Are Required to Sue a California Government Agency?
The first step that you and your attorney will take is sending an official notice to the government agency that maintains or owns the building where you were injured. In California, most local government agencies provide their own notice forms.
The notice you submit must be accurate and complete, or your claim may be dismissed, so make sure that you have your attorney’s help. By filing a notice, you are offering the government agency:
- a chance to settle your claim before you’ve filed a lawsuit
- a chance to investigate your claim and prepare a defense
- an opportunity to remedy the practices or conditions that caused your injury
How Will Your Injury Claim Be Resolved?
Before you submit your notice and while you wait for the response, your Pasadena premises liability lawyer will be gathering and examining evidence, speaking to witnesses, and preparing the strongest possible case on your behalf.
If you believe the state government was liable for your injury, your notice must be submitted to the California Department of General Services Office of Risk Management. If a local government agency does not have its own claim form, your lawyer can help you develop one.
After you file a notice with the agency that maintains or owns the building where you were injured, that agency will either deny your claim or offer you a settlement. If a settlement is offered, your attorney may negotiate for the full compensation amount you deserve and need.
Will Your Case Go to Trial?
Don’t accept a settlement offer without first consulting your lawyer. If the government agency rejects your injury claim, your lawyer will take the case to trial, explain to a jury how (and how extensively) you were injured, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
Every premises liability case is unique. The most important step is retaining sound legal advice and effective representation from the beginning. Immediately after you’ve been treated for your injury, schedule a consultation with a Southern California premises liability attorney.
How Will You Be Compensated?
The compensation that is available with a premises liability action against a California government agency is comparable in most ways to the compensation that may be awarded in other injury cases for lost wages and medical expenses.
However, you may not be compensated in these cases for your pain and personal suffering, and government agencies do not have to pay punitive damages, even if gross negligence or reckless disregard for life was involved.
If your premises liability claim against a government agency prevails, you will be compensated only for economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
What Will It Cost to Pursue Justice?
If a government agency’s negligence is the reason you’re injured in a government building in Southern California, do not file a claim or accept a settlement before you have consulted a Southern California premises liability lawyer.
The attorneys who handle these cases work for their clients on a contingent fee basis, so even if you take an injury claim against the government to trial, you pay no fee to your lawyer unless and until that lawyer recovers your compensation with a settlement or a jury verdict.
Your first meeting with a premises liability lawyer is also offered without cost or obligation. That first meeting is an opportunity for an injured victim of negligence to learn more about how the law applies to your own case and to obtain the personalized legal advice you’ll need.
If you’ve been injured in a school, a library, a city hall, or another government building – or if you’re injured that way in the future – make the call immediately to a premises liability lawyer. If your lawyer can prove your claim, the law will be on your side, and you will be compensated.