Federal, state, and local governments control much of our everyday life these days, and they have a vast number of employees. Bringing suit against the government can be very tricky. There are often issues of governmental immunity. Sometimes there are issues about when you will be able to receive the compensation you deserve.
Governmental immunity grants many federal, state, and local governments immunity from tort claims in some cases. This means that generally lawsuits cannot be brought against federal, state, or local governments or their employees. However, there are many exceptions. For example, some claims in Illinois cannot be heard in circuit courts but can be brought in a special Court of Claims. Another example is that some statutes provide exceptions—such as U.S.C. Section 1983, which allows plaintiffs to bring claims who were deprived of their constitutional rights by an official’s abuse of his or her position. Also, while Illinois’s Tort Immunity Act generally protects local governments, a local government or employee may be liable for willful and wanton conduct or for quasi-intentional conduct. A government entity can also waive the immunity. For example, a state legislature may be able to waive immunity, making government entities liable. An entity can also waive immunity by contract.
Even if an exception applies or immunity is waived, an attorney’s assistance is essential to get the compensation you deserve. The government may offer too little in a settlement—or there could even be a delay in getting your compensation because the budget is in deadlock.
Illinois Drivers Cannot Recover from State Governments Due to Budget Stalemate
According to one news source, an Illinois resident sustained thousands of dollars in damage in a car accident—but since the car was state-owned, he has not been able to recover money for the damages. One state lawmaker explained that during the state budget stalemate, no money has been given toward settlements for car repairs or replacements. The spokeswoman for the Department of Central Management estimates that about 225 claims, totaling $615,000, are in limbo until the Legislature allows the funds to be released.
A state representative is arguing that Illinois should not allow state-owned vehicles on the road for the time being. He says that during the state’s budget stalemate, these cars should not be allowed on the road unless money is given to have the vehicles self-insured. Until that happens, more drivers may be at risk of being unable to recover their damages. This issue highlights one of the many obstacles individuals encounter when they bring suit against a government entity.
Have You Been Injured by a Government Agency or Employee?
If you have been injured by a government entity or its employee, there are many complicated issues to consider. It takes an experienced attorney to understand whether an exception applies or whether immunity has been waived. At Moll Law Group, our Chicago lawyers are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents to medical malpractice. If you have been injured, we are available to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.
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Recent Case Discusses How Settlement Terms Can Bar All Future Claims, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 1, 2016.
Court Considers Causation Issues in Defective Gun Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2016.