How to Sue the Indiana Government for Negligence

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Updated September 25, 2019 | Legal Process |


You may have heard about so-called government immunity to liability lawsuits. Does this mean you can’t file a personal injury claim against a government entity or employee? Not necessarily.

It is possible to sue the government, but only if the government allows it. The process of suing the government is much more complicated than filing a suit against a non-government entity. Sovereign immunity—a legal doctrine declaring that state and government entities are immune from prosecution or civil suits—makes filing a claim against the government difficult. For negligence actions, Indiana’s immunity is typically governed by the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

If you would like to file a lawsuit, there are guidelines you must follow.

Suing 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:

  • Some medical malpractice claims
  • Dangerous building conditions
  • Claims from car accidents with government-owned vehicles

The Indiana Tort Claims Act covers many things. To get a better understanding of the immunity, discuss the details with an experienced Indiana attorney.

How to File a Claim Against Indiana

The federal government, as well as most state and local governments, have enacted laws containing specific rules for filing a personal injury claim against them. It’s important to note that if you don’t follow these laws, you may lose your right to receive compensation for injuries caused by the government agency or employee.

To file a claim against Indiana, you must file a notice of tort claim, wait for a response, and then file a lawsuit.

File a Notice of Tort Claim

Individuals need to notify Indiana’s government of their claim before filing a suit. To do so, you must fill out a tort claim notice, which gives the government the ability to investigate the claim before moving forward with a suit.

If the tort claim notice is not filed, there is no way the case can move forward. However, even if you file a notice, the government may still be entitled to immunity.

Under Indiana’s Tort Claims Act, notice involving claims against the Indiana state government must be filed within 270 days. For claims against political subdivisions of the Indiana government, notice must be filed within 180 days.

Wait for a Response

In Indiana, you can file suit against the government only after the government denies your tort claim notice or fails to respond within 90 days.

In rare instances, the government agency may accept your claim and offer a settlement.

File a Lawsuit

To file a personal injury lawsuit against the Indiana government, the negligent 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.

In general, claims are only permitted by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) if the claim is against federal employees or independent contractors. Otherwise, the claim must comply with the laws of the state in which the negligence occurred.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

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.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of government negligence, contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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