Can You Sue a Government Entity for Your Personal Injury in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the vast majority of personal injury claims are made against persons and private entities. But what happens if your accident involves a government entity? Can you sue a government worker or agency in Pennsylvania to obtain compensation for your damages?
For instance, if you were hit by an individual driving a government vehicle or you slip and fall due to a hazardous condition on government-owned property, you may be entitled to file a claim against the appropriate government entity.
Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act and Claims Against the Government
Under Title 42 Pa. C.S.A. Section 8522, which is often referred to as the Sovereign Immunity Act, the state of Pennsylvania waives its sovereign immunity in several types of accidents and personal injury cases. What that means is that you can sue the government and seek compensation only under limited circumstances.
Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act provides that injured persons can sue government employees and agencies for damages and losses that occur due to a negligent act or omission to act in any case where the victim would be able to sue an individual or private entity.
When You Can Sue a Government Entity for Your Injury in Pennsylvania
Under the Act, Pennsylvanians are permitted to sue the government for injuries caused by:
- Auto accidents. You can sue the appropriate government entity if the at-fault motorist was (a) a government employee, (b) driving a government vehicle, or (c) on official government business at the time of the collision.
- Medical malpractice. If a government employee or healthcare facility made a medical error that caused your injury, you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit against the government.
- Premises liability. If your slip and fall accident or another incident occurred on government property, you might be able to file a premises liability claim against the appropriate public entity.
- Negligent storage or control of items or animals. You can sue a government worker or agency that negligently stored or controlled personal property or animals, which resulted in your injury.
- Dram shop liability. Under Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, individuals who were injured at the hands of an impaired person may be able to sue both the intoxicated person and the establishment that sold or served them alcohol.
- Negligent road maintenance. If you were injured due to negligently maintained roadways in Scranton or other parts of Pennsylvania, you might be able to sue the government agency that was responsible for maintaining the area where your accident occurred.
Things to Consider When Suing the Government in Pennsylvania
There are two things to consider before suing a government entity or employee in the state of Pennsylvania:
- You must send written notice of your claim to the government agency within six months of your incident or accident; and
- The state law limits the amount of money you can recover from the government.
Your lawsuit against the government may be dismissed if you fail to send notice of your claim within the 6-months deadline. The Sovereign Immunity Act caps damages that can be recovered from a government entity at $250,000 to one injured party in an incident or $1 million total among all plaintiffs in a single incident.
Contact our knowledgeable Scranton personal injury attorneys at Needle Law Firm if you need help with suing a government employee or agency in the state of Pennsylvania. Call at 570-344-1266 to get a case review.