Premises liability claims against the government in Maryland are tricky to win and filled with complications. It requires extra steps and the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. You need an attorney because it is easy to take the wrong actions after suffering an injury like a slip and fall while on government property. This article brings you all you need to know about suing the Maryland government.
What Law Governs a Lawsuit Against Maryland Government
Generally, you can sue the state or local government, a governmental agency, or even an individual employee. However, unlike other civil actions, a separate law governs suing the Maryland government, but the trial procedure remains the same.
The applicable law for premises liability lawsuits is the Maryland Tort Claims Act. Every state in the U.S. has a similar statute. The law stipulates the procedure of requesting damages from a government entity or employee.
The Torts Claim Act provides that anyone suing the Maryland government must commence the action within one year of the injury. It also limits the amount of compensation and the class of officials that must receive a notification. In Maryland, the damage cap is $400 000 per claimant, and it usually covers medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What Amounts to a Government Premise?
A government property consists of any land or asset belonging to the state or local government. They also include government agencies or government-sponsored organizations. A property being leased or rented by the state also falls within this definition.
In summary, government property includes:
- State-operated vehicles like public buses, patrol, and emergency services cars
- High schools and universities
- State-operated hospitals
If you suffer injury in any of the above-listed properties, you are entitled to sue the Maryland government. But how do you go about it? We’ll discuss that next.
How To Make a Claim Against Maryland Government
If you desire to claim against the Maryland state government, you must write a tort letter to the State Treasurer. As mentioned earlier, the letter must come within a year from the injury date. If the claim is against the city or local governments, the correspondence will go to the city attorney.
The letter must contain:
- Your name and address, and that of other people involved, if any.
- Details of how, where, and when you suffered the injury.
- Detailed description of your injuries, including a medical report.
- An estimated demand of the damages suffered.
- If you engaged a Maryland personal injury attorney’s services, their name, address, and phone number.
- Your signature and contact information.
If your injuries happened on public transportation, the procedure would change slightly. In this instance, rather than sending the letter to the treasurer, you’ll forward it to the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).
The MTA plays the role of an insurance company. It will investigate your claim before making any settlement offer. Sometimes, it might take longer than the two years stipulated for instituting personal injury lawsuits. The only way to ensure you don’t miss the window is by commencing an action while waiting for the MTA decision.
Issues raised in the claim letter usually get resolved on time except for damages. The delay regarding the preceding happens if you’re still receiving treatment for your injuries. It is often better to wait until you complete treatment. But if the wound will take longer than one year to heal, send the claim letter.
Note that the claim letter’s duration is different from the Statute of Limitations for personal injury lawsuits. The former is strictly the time frame for notifying the government of your injury and demanding compensation. While the latter is the time, you must commence an action if you decide to sue the Maryland government. A lawsuit is the last resort if you can’t settle.
Challenges to Suing the Maryland Government
The first challenge to suing the government is failing to send the claim letter. If you neglect to do this and go straight to filing a lawsuit, the government’s attorney will move for dismissal. They will likely succeed.
Another problem is when you sue the wrong government agency, and the court dismisses your claim. Furthermore, if you played a role in the events leading to your injury, the government’s attorney will use it to have your case thrown out. All these reasons are why you must hire a competent Maryland attorney.
Pinder Plotkin Can Help You!
Whether it’s a slip and fall injury or any type of harm, you can recover damages from the government as long as it happened on their premises. Our personal injury attorneys at Pinder Plotkin can help you. Contact us today for a free case review.