Suffering an injury is never a pleasant thing, no matter where and how it happens. But, if you got your injury иn a place that is owned by the state, county, or city, оr a government actor, it is essential to know that you will have to follow special rules if you want to file a personal injury claim against the governmental institution.
Every state has various limits for filing a lawsuit against government entities.
Massachusetts limits the compensation the government is willing to pay in personal injury cases against government agencies.
Section 2 of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act states that “public employees are guilty of injury or loss of property or personal death” caused by omissions, negligence, or wrongful acts.
This Act limits government liability in some ways. There is a cap for public employees set to $100 000 per plaintiff. You will not be able to get punitive damages or interest payments when you file against a public employee.
The Massachusetts Tort Claims Act limits the traditional rule of sovereign immunity by allowing the state government to face liability.
Contact our Boston personal injury attorneys today.
What do you need to know about government entities?
A government entity is any federal state, a provincial government, department, court, tribunal, authority, agency, or other instrumentality.
Government entity includes any national or local government authority, board, commission, department, division, organ, instrumentality, court or agency, association, organization or institution of which any of the mentioned is a member or to whose jurisdiction any of the former is subject or in whose activities any of the foregoing is a participant.
For example, for Massachusetts, such entities are Boston Municipal Court Department, Bristol District Attorney, Central Massachusetts Regional Commission, and so on.
What is covered by the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act?
If you were injured by a negligent government employee for example (or injured on government property), the MTCA allows you sue for the injury, pretty much in the same way that you could sue a negligent private entity. These are the claims that might appear in the Massachusetts Court of Claims:
- Negligently driving a government-owned motor vehicle – If a government employee negligently injures you while driving (driving as part of their job) the public employer may face liability in the Court of Claims.
- Defects in public buildings – If you get an injury because of faulty flooring, spills, or other broken things inside the government object, you can file a lawsuit. If the employees knew about the building condition, they should have warned you in some way. Also, if they knew about the faulty flooring for example, but did not do anything to fix it, you can file a lawsuit.
- Medical care or treatment – If you got a poor medical treatment by doctors or medical staff employed in a state-run medical facility, you can sue for medical negligence.
What if you got injured by a government entity, on government property, or by a government employee?
First of all, you should seek medical help immediately. Don’t let the injury be left untreated because you and your health are the most important.
Once you recover from your injuries, you can begin your process of getting justice.
What is important to know here is that you have six months to file “notice of claim” with the governing board or public entity.
Keep in mind that government entities are entitled to get a notice that you are bringing a claim against them before you file the lawsuit.
If you fail to deliver the “notice of claim” within the period of six months, you face the risk of having your claim denied.
If you do not bring the “notice of claim” you are not able to file the lawsuit against the government entity in court.
If you believe that the government entity (an agency or employee) is responsible for your injury, file the Notice of Claim form as soon as possible. Even if you are not sure whether the entity is responsible for your injury, do that anyway.
Would you need a lawyer?
If you get injured in a place owned by the government, or by a government employee, the smartest thing is to consult a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Even the government code recommends that you consult with a lawyer before trying to sue a public entity.
The process can be complex even if you have previous experience in such cases.
Call us and let our Soto Law team stand by your side.