Have you been injured on government property? Were you injured in a car accident caused by a government employee? If so, you may be wondering whether you can bring a claim against the government seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered. While it is possible to do so, the rules are incredibly specific and the procedural nuances and formalities must be properly observed.
Can I Bring an Injury Claim Against the Government?
All state governments enjoy what is called “sovereign immunity.” With broad historical roots reaching far into the past, sovereign immunity simply put means that the government is immune from being sued unless such immunity is explicitly waived. The Arkansas Code Annotated provides that the state waives sovereign immunity in order to be held accountable when the negligence of a state entity causes harm. This same body of law details the procedure for seeking damages in these cases, including when, where, and how an injured party can seek compensation for harm caused by the government. In fact, the Arkansas Code Annotated section which states that sovereign immunity is waived in negligence cases also specifies that government agencies, along with employees and subdivisions, are to have liability insurance to cover certain types of harm. An injured person may seek compensation pursuant to that liability insurance coverage.
For instance, the Arkansas Code Annotated requires that Arkansas state agencies and subdivisions carry auto insurance that complies with the state’s minimum requirements. If you are injured in a car accident that is caused by a government employee in Arkansas, you can seek compensation for injuries and property damage against this insurance policy. This includes compensation for medical expenses and the cost of future medical care, along with lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. Damages, however, will be limited to the total coverage that is provided by the applicable government insurance policy. Arkansas also prohibits awarding punitive damages in claims made against the government. This ban on punitive damages holds true even in cases where the government was grossly negligent or acted intentionally.
To file your claim, however, you must go through the Arkansas Claim Commission. Claims against the government in Arkansas cannot be filed in state court. The Arkansas Annotated Code grants local and municipal government bodies in the state the power to develop their own processes for handling claims brought against them. So, if you are injured by a local government worker, such as someone employed by the city or county, you should check to see what the local procedure is for bringing a claim against the local governing body.
Personal Injury Attorney
Have you been injured on government property or by the negligence of a government employee? The Law Office of Bryce Cook is here for you in what can be a very difficult and confusing time in your life. Our dedicated personal injury team is here for you throughout the entire personal injury claims process. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.