If you are injured in an accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another person you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party at fault for damages.
However, if the party at fault is a state government employee or agency, the process of obtaining compensation for your personal injury claims is significantly different.
Do you know how the process works when you are injured by the state? At Kapuza Lighty in Yakima, our experienced government liability attorneys have represented many clients successfully in their claims against Washington state for injuries caused by a government agency or employee.
Call or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
What Qualifies as a Claim Against the State?
Under Washington state law, a claim for personal injury can be made against the state when one of Washington’s officers, employees, or volunteers commits an act that results in damages from “tortious conduct.” This phrase is a broad umbrella term that covers many types of acts, including car accidents, premises liability claims, medical malpractice claims, wrongful death, and more.
If any injury or property damage was caused by a state employee or agency through negligent action, a lawsuit can be filed against the state for compensation.
How to File a Claim Against the Government for Damages
The Washington Tort Claims Act dictates how a claim is filed against the state government for damages following an accident. Unlike personal injury cases between private individuals, when an accident involves the government the first step is to file a standard tort claim form with the state.
This form must include the following information, providing notice to the state of the accident:
- Name, date of birth, and contact information of the victim
- Address of where the accident took place
- A description of what happened to cause the injuries or property damage, including the date, time, and location
- A description of the injuries or property damage caused by the accident
- A statement of the amount of damages sought by the victim
- The victim’s signature, or the signature of their guardian or attorney
For personal injury cases involving the state, the victim has three years from the date of the accident to file a notice with the government of the potential claim. Once the notice is filed with the state, the victim is required to wait a minimum of sixty days before filing a lawsuit in court.
During this time, the state reviews the claim and makes a determination of whether or not to approve it. If the claim is denied, the lawsuit can move forward in court.
Compensation in a Tort Claim
Compensation for injuries caused by a government employee or agency is the same as what can be collected in a personal injury case against a private individual. Damages can include payment for economic and noneconomic losses.
Economic damages refer to out of pocket expenses like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and lost future income and benefits. Noneconomic damages cover the intangible harms of an accident like emotional distress, disfigurement, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer with experience representing clients with personal injury claims against the state government can be the critical difference between getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries and financial hardship adding on to your physical and psychological pain.
Most people do not know that there is a separate process for filing a lawsuit against the state government for damages, and as a result the victims that attempt to handle these cases on their own often end up taking a settlement worth far less than what they are owed or end up with their cases thrown out altogether.
An attorney understands the intricacies of the process for filing claims against the state for damages and will ensure that your case progresses as it should through the system. A lawyer will protect your claim and make the best possible arguments to the state for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
If the state denies the claim or disputes your damages, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will take your case to trial to get the damages you deserve for your injuries.
Talk To a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Personal injury claims made against the state government are often complex cases that require an attorney experienced in dealing with government officials to get you the compensation you are owed for your injuries. In Yakima, the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Kapuza Lighty are here to help. Call the office or contact us now to schedule a free appointment to review your case with our team today.