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Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Government: What You Need to Know

Oct 6, 2014 | Firm News

When most people think of personal injury, they imagine one person harming another through some careless act, such as inattentive driving that causes a car accident. And while personal injury lawsuits brought by one private citizen against another are certainly commonplace, government entities and their employees can and do cause injuries.

Whether it’s a city snowplow crashing into a car or a municipality failing to repair known defects in a sidewalk (over a certain height, see Hess v. City of Chicago), government negligence can result in serious injuries.

If you have been injured by a government entity or a government employee, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney at Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. right away. Although it is often possible to sue the state or a municipality, the rules that govern these types of lawsuits are much different than those that apply to personal lawsuits between private citizens. In many situations, state law provides the government with liability protection. Additionally, the law imposes rigid time limits for filing a claim.

The Illinois Tort Immunity Act Protects Government Entities

Because most Illinois government entities and their employees are protected by the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (frequently shortened to “Tort Immunity Act”), pursuing personal injury lawsuits against them is extremely complex.

Like most states, Illinois did away with the common law concept of “sovereign immunity” by codifying this ancient legal doctrine. Sovereign immunity derives from English Common Law, where it evolved from the idea that reigning monarchs could do no wrong to a broader concept that shields government bodies and their agents from lawsuits. In modern times, state laws protect the government from lawsuits that could cost taxpayers significant funds and prevent the government from serving the public.

There are, however, important exceptions to the Tort Immunity Act, including instances when a government body or employee acts willfully or wantonly. In these cases, the Tort Immunity Act permits injury victims to pursue lawsuits against the government and its employees in the Court of Claims.

Time Limits for Filing a Personal Injury Case Against the Government

Personal injury lawsuits against the government and its employees are subject to strict time limits that are usually much shorter than the time limits for other types of personal injury claims. These time limits, known as “statutes of limitation”, can range from one to two years depending on the type of case and the parties involved.

Additionally, certain actions against the government require the plaintiff to provide the government entity with notice of the intent to sue, with some notice requirements set at just six months from the triggering event.

Because your case will be barred if you fail to meet the applicable time limits, it is extremely important to contact our premier personal injury law firm as soon as you are injured or otherwise aware of a potential claim.

Call Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen

The attorneys at Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. represent personal injury victims throughout Chicago, Naperville, Aurora, and the surrounding areas. Call today at (312) 372-3822 to speak to an attorney about your case.

This website has been prepared by Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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