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Can I file a personal injury claim against the government?

If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, you can file a lawsuit to hold the other party liable for the damages you suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. This is the legal principle behind most personal injury lawsuits, including those involving commercial vehicle accidents.

In a typical car accident case, you might file suit against the driver who caused the accident by running a stop sign. If the driver was working for a trucking company, you might also hold the driver's employer liable under the legal principle of respondeat superior, which can hold employers liable for negligent acts committed by their employees.

The same principle should apply if the negligent driver was working for a local, state or federal government, but there are some complicating factors.

In the past, it was nearly impossible to file a personal injury lawsuit against any government agency. Today, various laws provide pathways for ordinary people to file a personal injury claim against government agencies, and these often come up in cases involving motor vehicle accidents or slip-and-fall accidents on government property.

However, these claims must follow procedures other personal injury claims don't. Typically, the timetable is accelerated. The injured must file a notice of claim as soon as possible after the accident. There are many other requirements as well.

If you have been injured in an accident and believe you may have a claim against the government, talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can about your options.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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