“Thank you for helping with my lawsuit for the car wreck. You did a wonderful, professional job and I would recommend you to anyone. Once again, thank you very much.”
– Rodeo Post
“Without the help of Kevan Montoya I know that I would not have had the successful outcome that was achieved. He took a very difficult situation and made sure that the truth was told, presently and perfectly. He was a calm and confident presence during this difficult time for our family. I very much appreciate the knowledge and support I received from Mr. Montoya. I highly recommend this firm.”
– April Adkison
“Kevan Montoya and his staff are incredible! I was able to concentrate on healing and my family instead of insurance companies and paperwork. Not only are the staff empathetic and efficient, Mr. Montoya was tenacious in making sure that my interests were considered. They’ve got your back!”
– Lisa Allen (Yakima, WA)
Planning on suing the government for negligence? Is this even possible? The short answer to this question is yes, but it isn’t easy. The process is complex, and the rules and regulations surrounding it are substantial.
If you believe you have a case against the government, consider hiring a law firm experienced in governmental liability cases. It’s best to work with attorneys well-versed in all of the applicable laws. At Montoya Hinckley, our attorneys understand the rules and regulations surrounding government negligence and can help you sue for personal injury. If you believe you were a victim of governmental negligence, contact us today at 509-895-7373 for a free consultation.
Suing the Government for Negligence
While winning lawsuits against the government can be challenging, it is certainly possible to sue the government for negligence and win. Across the country, individuals are regularly injured as a result of governmental negligence and misconduct. Consider these instances:
Injured by a Felon on Parole or person with restraining order
Abuse in an Orphanage or Foster Care
Injuries Suffered at School
How Do I File Suit Against a Government Agency?
Moving Forward with Your Case in a Timely Fashion
If you have been the victim of governmental negligence, understanding how the law works regarding suing the government can help you decide what to do. You may be hesitant about moving forward. The government has a great deal of power and considerable resources, and governmental agencies are protective of their employees and reputation. That said, you do have the right to be compensated for damages, injury, and loss. Additionally, your lawsuit may actually spur change that will protect and positively affect the lives of others.
File a Notice of Claim
If you have decided to pursue an action against the federal government, your first step may be to file a Notice of Claim with the governmental agency you are accusing of negligence. The federal form used for this is Standard Form 95 (SF 95). According to the Department of Justice, “Standard Form 95 is used to present claims against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for property damage, personal injury, or death allegedly caused by a federal employee’s negligence or wrongful act or omission occurring within the scope of the employee’s federal employment.”
The form is available in multiple locations on the internet; it is easy to find. Our government liability attorney can help you locate it. When completing it, you must provide the dollar amount of damages you are seeking (but you cannot sue for punitive damages).
If you have a negligence claim against the state of Washington, or one of its agencies or employees, or a local governmental entity like a county, city, or school district or one of its employees, you generally must file a tort claim form with the governmental agency that was negligent. Washington State has a standard tort claim form that is used for filing notice of a tort claim with a governmental agency. Some governmental entities have their own tort claim forms. A person injured by a state or local governmental entity or one of its officers, employees, or volunteers generally must give the governmental entity notice of the claim and give the governmental entity a chance to respond to the claim before filing a lawsuit against the state or local governmental entity.
How Long Do I Have to Sue a Government Agency?
You must file the Notice of Claim SF 95 form with a federal government agency within two years of the date you became aware of the negligence. In some cases, this will be the date of the actual incident, but not all. Failure to file the form in a timely fashion will result in being unable to bring your claim forward.
If the person who injured you is an officer, employee, or volunteer of a Washington State agency or a local governmental entity, you have three years to file your claim in most cases.
Filing a Government Negligence Lawsuit
From the date your claim against the federal, state, or local governmental entity is filed, it is considered that you have “given notice,” as required. The governmental agency with which you have filed then has a specific time to act on your claim or you can file your lawsuit. They can launch an investigation into your claim and, if desired, offer a settlement. Your Montoya Hinckley attorney can negotiate settlement options with the attorney representing the government agency in the case.
Even if you file a suit, your attorney can still negotiate with the government entity’s attorney to reach a settlement. Just because you were unable to reach a settlement during the Notice of Claim phase does not mean you will be unable to reach one again. At Montoya Hinckley, our government negligence attorneys understand the laws and will advocate for the best possible settlement for you. If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached, we will represent you in court.
Suing the government is a substantial undertaking. It involves multiple steps that take place over a considerable time period. A quick resolution is unlikely, but, when working with an experienced government negligence attorney, a positive one is possible.
How Do I Prove My Case?
The experienced governmental negligence attorneys at Montoya Hinckley can review the circumstances and determine whether you have a case. The following three rules are only a few of the many in place governing possible cases:
- State Law Compliance: Your claim must fall within the laws of the state where the incident occurred. In other words, the action would need to be considered negligent under local laws.
- Employment Guidelines: The behavior of the individual who was negligent must have occurred as part of his or her job. For example, if you are in an auto accident with a postal worker, the accident must occur as he is delivering mail or driving to or from the post office for you to be able to sue the U.S. Postal Service. Negligent behavior that causes injury outside the scope of a government employee’s job would not be a governmental case.
- Negligence: Primarily, you must be suing for negligence. Your injuries or damages must have been caused by the actions, or lack thereof, by the employee directly.
While the rules seem overwhelming, negligence does occur and the government is held responsible for it. In fact, thousands of individuals file claims each year, and the government pays out millions of dollars annually in response to them.
Because there are added challenges to cases that involve suing the government, you need experienced attorneys by your side. Our government negligence attorneys at Montoya Hinckley will not only defend your rights and fight for all the compensation you deserve, we’ll make sure you understand the process every step of the way.
THE VALUE OF PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
SHOULD I HIRE A GOVERNMENTAL NEGLIGENCE ATTORNEY?
While you certainly can represent yourself in court and attempt to gain compensation for your negligence claim, federal and state tort claims law is complicated. The terminology used in the documents and at hearings will likely be quite technical and difficult to understand without a legal background. If you don’t know what is being said, you may not react appropriately or represent yourself successfully. The advice and counsel of an attorney with experience suing the government could significantly increase your chances of success.
Contact Montoya Hinckley Today for Experienced Advice and Representation
If you have been injured because of the negligence of the government, contact our attorneys at Montoya Hinckley today. We have over four decades of combined experience and a proven reputation in the state of Washington for successfully representing our clients.
We will work hard on your behalf to ensure that you are fairly compensated for all injuries you sustained as the result of governmental negligence. We will review your incident and determine whether we think you have a case, assist in the completion of all governmental forms and manage the entire legal process. We will negotiate fiercely on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you at trial.
We will negotiate fiercely on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you at trial.
As your attorney, our goal is your success. We want you to be fairly compensated for your injuries so you can move on with your life. Contact us today at 509-895-7373 and schedule your free and confidential consultation. We look forward to hearing your story and helping you get what you deserve when you take on the government in a lawsuit.