It is possible to sue the government, but only if the government allows it. Sovereign immunity (a legal doctrine which declares that state and government entities are immune from prosecution or civil suits) makes filing a claim against the government very difficult.
The process of suing the government is much more complicated than filing a suit against a non-government entity.
1. File a Notice of Tort Claim in Indiana
Again, individuals need the government’s permission to sue the government. Individuals should fill out a tort claim notice which gives the government the ability to investigate the claim before moving forward with a suit. Be aware that the government may still be entitled to immunity despite filing a notice.
If the notice is not filed, there is no way the case can move forward.
Under Indiana’s Tort Claims Act, forms involving Indiana state government must be filed within 270 days. For claims against local or municipal Indiana government, forms must be filed within 180 days.
2. Wait for a Response–But Not Too Long
Agencies generally respond within 6 months. The statute of limitations can run while waiting for the state’s response, so the claimant is advised to take action as quickly as possible.
If the claim is valid, the government can still dispute the nature and extent of damages. In the event of a denial, victims have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the entity in civil court.
3. File a Lawsuit
Once a decision is made (or the timeline works in favor of the plaintiff) and the plaintiff has secured an injury attorney, filing a lawsuit would be the next step.
In general, claims are only permitted by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) if the claim is against federal employees or independent contractors.
The negligible conduct in question must be within the employee or contractor’s scope of employment. Only negligence—as opposed to intentional misconduct—falls within the scope of a lawsuit. Otherwise, the claim must comply with the laws of the state in which the negligence occurred.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Indiana Government
Persons injured by a government entity in Indiana cannot seek punitive damages. The most victims can recover for injuries or deaths is $700,000.
Indiana law covers government employee negligence in certain cases:
- Medical malpractice claims
- Dangerous building conditions
- Claims from car accidents with government-owned vehicles
Indiana’s sovereign immunity covers many things. To get a better understanding of the immunity, discuss the details with an experienced Indiana attorney.
Injured by the Government?
Filing a personal injury claim against the government isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s the type of fight victims shouldn’t tackle alone. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are available for a free consultation. Get in touch online or call our Indianapolis office at 317.920.6400.