Understanding Sovereign Immunity – A Guide for Potential Clients
Sovereign immunity is a legal concept that has been in existence for centuries. Under this doctrine, the government is immune from legal liability for the actions or omissions of its employees or officials. This means that, in most cases, individuals cannot sue the government or its agencies for damages caused by their negligence. So how does this affect personal injury claims in Pennsylvania? And should you hire an experienced injury lawyer to help you navigate this complex legal system? Read on to find out.
In Pennsylvania, sovereign immunity is governed by the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (PSTCA). The statute sets out certain exceptions to the government’s immunity and allows individuals to sue the government for damages caused by the negligence of its employees or officials. However, the law places many restrictions on when and how a claim can be made, making it difficult to navigate for those who are not familiar with it.
One of the most important restrictions under the PSTCA is the notice requirement. In order to make a successful claim against a government agency, an individual must give notice of their claim to the agency within six months of the incident. Failure to comply with this notice requirement can result in the dismissal of the claim, even if the government was clearly at fault. This is why it is essential to hire an experienced injury lawyer who can advise you on the legal requirements and help you comply with the notice requirement.
Another key aspect of sovereign immunity in Pennsylvania is the cap on damages. Under the PSTCA, the government’s liability is limited to $500,000 per occurrence. This means that, even in cases where the government has clearly acted negligently and caused significant harm, the amount of compensation that can be recovered is limited. An experienced injury lawyer can help you navigate this cap and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Sovereign immunity also applies to claims for pain and suffering, which are often a significant component of personal injury claims. Under most circumstances, individuals cannot recover damages for pain and suffering caused by the negligence of government agencies or their employees or officials. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as in cases involving medical malpractice. An experienced injury lawyer can advise you on whether you may be eligible for pain and suffering damages in your particular case.
Sovereign immunity is a complex legal concept that can make it difficult for individuals to recover damages for injuries caused by the negligence of government agencies or officials. If you have been injured and believe that the government may be at fault, it is essential to hire an experienced injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. With the right legal representation, you can hold the government accountable and recover the compensation you deserve.