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Injured by the Government? You Need to Act NOW.

Posted on - Saturday, September 26, 2015 under General

You see all kinds of vehicles driving down the roads and highways of west Georgia. If you get in an accident with another car, motorcycle, or truck driven by a private citizen just like you and want to seek compensation for injuries from that accident, you usually have two years after the date of the collision to file your lawsuit in Georgia.

However, if the other vehicle was a garbage truck, mail truck, school bus, or any other vehicle driven by a government employee doing their job, you don’t have the luxury of waiting that long to file a claim. In fact, you have to move extremely fast if you want to have any chance of obtaining compensation for injuries caused by the carelessness or recklessness of the municipal, county, state, or federal governments or their employees.

Unique rules and deadlines apply to personal injury claims and lawsuits against the government. This is all comes from a centuries old legal concept known as “sovereign immunity.” This doctrine generally protects government entities and agents from liability for negligence if they were acting within the scope of their official duties at the time they caused the injury.

As governments realized the essential unfairness of leaving the people they’ve injured without any recourse, they began passing statutes that allowed injured individuals to seek compensation. However, they put very strict rules in place as to how and when such claims can be made.

Short Notice Periods and Tricky Requirements

Before you can file a personal injury suit against the state of Georgia or any local Georgia governmental entity, you have to first give them a “heads-up” that there has been an accident and injuries for which you’re seeking compensation.

The Georgia Tort Claims Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-21-20 et. seq.) requires that:

  • a written notice of the claim be given within 12 months of the date the loss was discovered or should have been discovered;
  • the notice be given in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, by statutory overnight delivery or personal delivery to the Risk Management Division of the state Department of Administrative Services, and;
  • a copy of the notice also has to be personally delivered or mailed by first class mail to the state government entity involved.

If you fail to provide the notice in the time required to all necessary entities, or you fail to follow detailed rules about what the notice must contain, you will lose you right to seek any compensation from the government for your injuries.

If you have a claim against a Georgia municipality, you have to provide a similar notice, but the time to do so is even shorter. Notice must be provided in the specified manner within six months after the accident that cause the injury.

If your injury was caused by the federal government or one of its employees, the Federal Tort Claims Act also requires that notice of your claim be given to the agency or department responsible for the injury within two years after the accident.

The shorter time periods and complicated and technical requirements for filling personal injury claims against government entities makes it essential to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Failure to do so can cost you your right to seek compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving the local, state, or federal governments, please give us a call today at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff.