When we think of premises liability, there are a few specific cases that tend to come to mind. We think of an injured person suing a store or a homeowner that is responsible for the property on which the accident occurred. However, what if the injury did not occur on private property, but instead in a city-owned park or on a public sidewalk? Can you sue the city of Evansville for your personal injury?
The answer is yes. If you are injured on a government-owned property because of negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. There are three steps you should take in the state of Indiana to seek premises liability compensation from the government:
Step One: File a Tort Claim
Ironic as it may sound, to sue the government, you need permission from the government. You can get this permission by filing a tort claim notice. This notice allows the government to investigate the claim before making the decision to move forward with the suit. Be aware that filing a tort claim in no ways entitles you to a case. The government may still be entitled to immunity. The tort claim is just the first step.
Under Indiana Tort Claims Act, any forms in this matter that regard the local or municipal Indiana government must be filed in as early as 180 days of the incident.
Step Two: Wait for a Response
It typically takes no longer than 6 months for these agencies to respond to your tort claim. The fear in this time is that the statute of limitations will run out while waiting for the response. Because of that, it would be wise to make the claim as soon as possible.
Please note that, even if the claim is valid, the government may still dispute the nature and extent of the damages. In these cases, the injured person has the option to file the personal injury lawsuit to a civil court.
Step Three: File a Lawsuit
If the government determines that they do not have immunity, the next step will be to file the lawsuit against the Indiana government. This is the stage at which it is most beneficial to have legal representation, although you can hire an attorney as early as when you decide to file a tort claim. In these cases, it is of utmost importance that negligence of the government can be proven, and that this negligence directly corresponds with the personal injury.
What to Know
There are a few important items to note about filing a lawsuit against the Indiana government:
- You cannot seek punitive damages. The most victims can receive when filing a personal injury claim with the state of Indiana is $700,000.
- Indiana’s sovereign immunity covers a broad spectrum. Because of this, it would benefit you greatly to speak with an experienced attorney before entering the process.
- Contributory negligence applies to lawsuits against the Indiana government. This differs from comparative negligence, in which your damages are diminished by the percentage you are found to be at fault (up to 50 percent). Instead, contributory negligence holds that even if the victim is one percent at fault, the defendant is absolved of responsibility.
Help from an Evansville Personal Injury Lawyer
There is no question that the government goes out of its way to make filing a personal injury claim against them a difficult process. If you were injured at a government-owned property in Evansville, you shouldn’t attempt to fight the city of Evansville or even the state of Indiana on your own. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.