Can You Sue The Government For A Slip And Fall?
There have been numerous incidents where slip and fall accidents have caused serious injury in government-owned buildings and other facilities. Public transit locations are notorious for the danger they pose to the public. Uneven ground in parks and public sidewalks has caused several slip and fall accidents. Wet floors or floor mats have caused people to trip, slip and fall. If you’re ever injured and you feel the government is at fault, you may wonder if it’s possible to sue the government and receive compensation.
Federal Facilities Where Most Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere and at any time. However, some government facilities that are open to the public pose hazards that might lead to a slip and fall accident. Some of these federal facilities include:
- Federal Government Buildings
- Community Recreation Centers
- Public Transit Facilities
- Road Construction Projects
- Public Walkways
- Public Parks
- State Colleges
- Military Bases
There are 100 miles of unused trolley tracks in Philadelphia. These tracks pose a real threat to pedestrians and bikers. They tend to freeze over, increasing the chances of a slip and fall accident or causing a biker to wreck. In fact, a biker broke her jaw when her bike tires got ensnared with the tracks and caused her to lose control. In a situation such as this, it’s important to know how to build your case so that you might have a chance at receiving fair compensation.
Although suing the federal government and holding it accountable is much more difficult than suing a private citizen or business, it is not impossible. In order to make a claim against the government, you must meet certain conditions.
Conditions That Allow You To Sue The Government
There are situations where the government has been sued. For instance, a man is suing the federal government because he claimed it was negligent and caused his slip and fall due to a rubber mat that was raised on the floor. He claimed the fall caused him various serious and permanent injuries and impairment of bodily functions, disfigurement or aggravation of pre-existing conditions. He has claimed that the government was negligent in that it failed to maintain and inspect the premises and it failed to exercise due and reasonable care under the circumstance and it failed to provide sufficient warnings. For this case to be successful, the plaintiff has to meet certain conditions and provide the following:
- Name, address, and date of injury
- A detailed summary of the injury
- An official statement declaring negligence by the government agency
- A detailed explanation of the injury, medical expenses, and financial losses
If you want to have a chance at winning your slip and fall lawsuit when going up against the federal government you will also need the following in addition to the previously mentioned data:
- As with any negligence claim, you will need to provide proof of liability. This will include taking pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and torn clothes.
- Discern if anyone witnessed your slip and fall and ask for their names and contact information.
- Promptly report the accident to the person in charge of the government facility.
- Fill out any necessary forms or reports when requested
Time is of the essence when attempting to sue the federal government for a slip and fall accident. Therefore, you must report the accident right away and make sure you send all the paperwork for your claim to the correct government agency. If you send it to the wrong agency, this could delay your claim. The statute of limitations for a slip and fall claim against the federal government is two years. If you fail to promptly file your claim, your lawsuit will likely be dismissed.
After you file your administrative claim, the government has six months to reply to your claim. If it determines you are eligible for compensation, then you will be paid for some or all of your claimed damages. If the government doesn’t provide a reply, then you can proceed with your slip and fall lawsuit against the government.
When filing your lawsuit against the federal government, you cannot do this at the state level. You must file your lawsuit in a United States District Court where you live or where your accident occurred. Your lawsuit must also state that you’re suing for the same amount raised in your administrative claim unless you can provide new evidence in your slip and fall lawsuit.
Limitations When Suing The Federal Government
While it is possible to sue the government and win your case, there are strict limitations when attempting to sue the federal government. You must be prepared to face the following limitations when preparing to sue the federal government:
- Regarding slip and fall claims, the government has strict time-oriented deadlines.
- If you win your case, the government limits the amount of compensation you can receive.
- You must have solid proof that the government property was unsafe and that the government knew the property was unsafe before you had the slip and fall accident.
Many people wrongly think that simply falling on government property means that the government is at fault. This is not always the case. The problem is that you have to prove the government knew the property was unsafe and failed to warn you of the danger or sufficiently correct the problem. Proving this is often very difficult.
Federal Tort Claims
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was developed in 1946. Its purpose is to allow private citizens to sue the federal government in a federal court for harmful or negligent acts committed by government employees at the workplace. Claims filed under FTCA hold the government as the defendant and not the individual employee. General standards for suing the federal government under FTCA are:
- The negligent act must have taken place under the purview of the responsible party.
- You can only sue a government employee. Contractors working for the government would be excluded from a lawsuit.
- Only negligent claims are allowed versus claims of intentional misconduct which are not usually allowed. However, some claims of intentional misconduct may be considered and this will depend on the individual situation.
- The state law should permit the claim where the negligent act occurred.
If you’ve been injured on government property and feel that negligence on the part of the government is to blame, then you may have a slip and fall claim. Keep in mind that suing the federal government is much different than suing an individual or private business. There are strict limitations and timelines, and if you fail to adhere to the strict rules and timeframes, your case may be dismissed and you will not receive any compensation.
You want to maximize your success in a slip and fall case, and the best way to do this is to seek expert legal advice. A slip and fall attorney can guide you through the confusing maze of what it takes to sue the federal government. Taking on your case against the government by yourself can be intimidating and if you make one wrong move, it could cost you your case. An experienced slip and fall attorney can provide you the needed advice to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.