City or Government Liability
Where you fall is important to know. Knowing who or what is responsible is a predicate to recovery.
Sometimes, a person can slip and fall on privately-owned land, where it is easy to determine the landowner’s identity and responsibilities.
But what if you fall on land owned or controlled by the government? This can include posts offices, schools, government buildings, hospitals, city sidewalks and more. Who is responsible then?
That’s where you need to understand the benefits of hiring an Indiana premises liability or slip and fall injury attorney immediately after you have been hurt. An Indiana slip and fall injury lawyer can help you figure out whether the city or the government might have liability in the slip and fall.
Is the City Responsible for My Slip and Fall Injury in Indiana?
It may seem obvious that if your slip and fall accident was caused because of a pothole in a road that was maintained by an Indiana government entity, that you might have a claim immediately against that entity. However, the reality is not so clear.
There are numerous different factors to consider before determining whether the government is liable to you. These factors include whether the government is “immune” from a claim or lawsuit (after all, the government writes the laws, why wouldn’t it write laws that prevent you from suing it?). Another consideration is the shortened time limits the government imposes upon injured people to pursue a claim (compared to privately owned property).
It is always smart to consider options for receiving compensation for your losses if you were hurt on property in Indiana. However, if a government entity might be at fault, you need to be clear about the rules. In some claims or lawsuits, filing a claim can be reasonably simple – see an experienced attorney, determine the landowner, determine your status upon the land and make a claim.
With the government, however, there are hurdles to jump. It can be much more difficult if you were hurt on government property to get into the government, into court, and to prevail in your case.
Government entities across the United States enjoy “sovereign immunity” -- an old-fashioned legal concept from the earliest days of our country, which in many cases protects them from litigation unless the government itself waives such a protection.
Indiana's own sovereign immunity laws were first modified in the 1970s with the passage of Indiana’s Tort Claims Act (often called the “ITCA”). This law imposes particular rules for people who have been injured on government property that are different from normal negligence claim.
One example is called the “statute of limitations.” In almost all personal injury actions within the State of Indiana (including a slip and fall injury claim), the “plaintiff” (the injured person) must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury or else the claim is forever barred. In other words – if there is no lawsuit filed within two years, then there is no recovery.
However, suing the government is much more difficult. If the injury occurred on government property then the Indiana Tort Claims Act applies. This law requires that before any lawsuit can be filed, that the injured person must first put the government entities responsible on “notice” of the claim.
Filing a lawsuit does not preserve the claim for the injured person unless a “notice” is filed first. This means that the injured party is responsible for putting the government on notice that he or she intends to bring a claim. The time limit for filing a Tort Claims Notice is much shorter than a typical personal injury case.
The shortened time limit to file the “Notice of Claim” is only 180 days from the date of the injury if the government entity is a county or a city and 270 days if the responsible governmental entity is the state of Indiana. You will need a thoroughly experienced Indiana slip and fall injury attorney to help you if you find yourself in this situation. Determining which government is involved can be a tricky proposition.
Because recovering maximum compensation for your medical bills, pain, and other expenses tied to the accident can be extremely difficult, let us help you. You have enough to worry about in the wake of an accident and should be able to turn your case over to a knowledgeable attorney who can fight hard on your behalf. This is particularly true with the nuances and the complexities of a case against a city or government entity.
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