If you are hit by a careless driver or if you slip and fall on a wet floor in a grocery store, you know that you can file a claim against the negligent driver or property owner. But what happens if you were hit by an emergency vehicle, or the building in which you fell was owned by the federal government?
Before 1946, the government uniformly asserted its sovereign immunity to personal injury and premises liability claims. But after the passage of the Federal Tort Claims Act, that changed. Today, you may be able to sue the government, but filing such a claim is complex. If the claim is against a federal agency or employee:
- You must first file a Notice of Claim. In general, you have up to two years to notify the appropriate government agency, in writing, of the nature of your claim. However, depending on the circumstances and the agency, you may have as little as 30 days to file.
- Upon receipt of the notice, the government agency has up to six months to decide whether to deny or accept your claim.
- If your claim is denied, or if the government agency refuses to pay the damages you are claiming, you have up to six months to file a lawsuit.
If your claim is against a state agency in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Government Tort Claims Act applies. Like filing a lawsuit against a federal agency, suing the state comes with its own set of issues.
Whether you fell in the post office or were hit by a police car, you must act quickly. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney at Stipe Law Firm helps ensure that critical deadlines are met and documentation is accurate and complete, giving you a better chance of a successful outcome.