While most injuries occur because of the actions of private individuals, sometimes, the government (often by virtue of a government employee) is to blame.
For example, what happens if a postal vehicle hits you? Or you slip and fall in a public park? Or if you are a victim of medical negligence that is committed by a government-employed doctor, such as one who works for the VA?
When the government or a government employee is to blame for your injuries, you may have the right to file a lawsuit. However, you must do so per the guidelines of either the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) or the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act.
The Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act allows an individual to file a lawsuit for damages against the federal government, and holds the federal government liable to “the same extent an individual would be in like circumstances.” In order to make a claim under the FTCA, you must prove that:
- You were injured due to the actions of a federal employee
- The employee was acting within the scope of his duties (i.e. was performing a task related to their federal position)
- The employee was acting in a wrongful or negligent manner
- The wrongful or negligent act was the direct cause of your injuries and damages
You must file your FTCA claim within two years after the cause of action accrues, or you may be barred from seeking compensation.
The Oklahoma Tort Claims Act
Oklahoma maintains its sovereign immunity – its protection from liability in tort actions. However, the state waives its immunity in certain cases, making it possible for individuals to seek damages after being injured by city or state employees when damages occurred as a result of negligence, error, or omissions.
That being said, the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act reads that, “the total liability of the state and its political subdivisions on claims within the scope of this Act shall not exceed….”
- $25,000 for any claimant who has more than one claim for loss of property
- $125,000 to any claimant for any other loss arising out of a single incident
- $175,000 for any city or county with a population of less than 300,000
- $1,000,000 for any number of claims arising out of a single incident
Further, under the state’s Tort Claims Act, punitive damages are not available. It is also important to be aware of time limits for filing both the notice of claim and the claim itself.
An Experienced Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Attorney Can Help
While a government or government entity can indeed be held liable for negligent acts that lead to an individual’s harm, the process for filing a claim against the government is not the same as it is for pursuing a tort against an individual.
If you believe that your injuries were caused by the negligence of a government (employee), you need sound legal representation from the skilled Ada governmental tort claims attorneys at the Erik Johnson Law Office. Contact us today for a free case consultation by calli