How to Make an Injury Claim Against Pennsylvania
Personal injury claims against government employees, officials, and agencies differ from claims against private citizens. While Pennsylvania receives a certain degree of sovereign immunity, current laws include a set of exceptions to sovereign immunity listed in Title 42 Section 8522.
WHEN INDIVIDUALS CAN FILE CLAIMS AGAINST THE STATE
If the following personal injury incidents involve government employees or jurisdiction, an individual reserves the right to file a personal injury claim:
- Car accidents, boating accidents, and plane accidents involving on-duty government employees.
- Medical malpractice acts involving government health care employees.
- Injuries that arise from the government’s negligent storage, care, or control of property and animals such as police dogs, horses, and lab animals.
- Accidents involving dangerous conditions on property owned by government, highways, and sidewalks.
- Accidents arising from negligent liquor store sales if the state licensed the store and the store sold alcohol to a minor, mentally incompetent person, or a visibly intoxicated person.
- Incidents involving negligent National Guard members.
- Certain defective vaccine accidents.
If a government employee or National Guard member causes an accident and subsequent injury while off duty, the nature of a personal injury claim may change. In these cases, your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer may advise filing an ordinary injury claim against the individual responsible for the incident.
Individuals reserve the right to file a personal injury claim against the state in most personal injury circumstances that directly involve state or government employees while they work in an official capacity. While any injured person retains the right to a claim, however, pursuing a claim requires careful adherence to all timeframes, statutes of limitation, and documentation procedures.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM AGAINST PENNSYLVANIA
To file a claim against the state of Pennsylvania or one of its agencies, a plaintiff must deliver written notice to the relevant government office within six months of the injury occurrence. All claims directed at the state should go to the current attorney general. Claimants may send local claim notices to the government agency or office named in the claim.
Each formal claim notice must contain the claimant’s name, residential address, accident information (the date, location, and time the accident occurred), and the name and address of physicians who attended the injury.
A claimant may try to file a claim after the six-month period, but the government will likely dismiss the request after that period. Section 8528 of the state code also limits the amount of financial compensation a plaintiff may receive through a personal injury claim against the government. Any one individual may not receive more than $250,000. The state caps damages for all claimants in a single case at $1 million.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE A GOVERNMENT CLAIM
If you lost your balance because of a rickety railing at the local tag office, suffered a brain injury in a car accident with a state employee, or endured a medical error at the health department, you may have a valid claim against the state or local government.
After an accident involving a government office or employee, seek medical attention and collect as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage. Keep records of all medical visits, and document your injury experience. Avoid posting on social media during the claims period, and work with a legal advisor to understand and protect your right to take action against a negligent state employee, official, or agency.
In government-related injury claims, documentation accuracy, timeframe adherence, and clear records matter. One hiccup in the claims filing process can prevent a claimant from obtaining a fair judgment. If you or someone you know suffered in an accident involving government employees or property, talk to an attorney about your options to pursue a claim as soon as possible. Six months passes quickly, especially for those trying to recover from an injury.