Who is at fault if you are injured in a public place? What does a public entity attorney do? These questions leave many injury victims feeling confused and defeated. When you slip and fall, are hit, or suffer another injury in a public space, it may be due to someone’s negligence. Above all, every property owner and manager has a duty of care to keep their guests free from harm. However, those who fail this duty of care are held responsible for medical bills and other accident expenses.
As a public entity liability attorney, Sweet James and his firm of personal injury lawyers have provided clients with experienced representation in all areas of public entity claims. From general and premises liability lawsuits to ADA and discrimination claims, our public entity attorneys protect their clients and hold the offending parties liable. As a result, Sweet James is here to share his knowledge and experience by answering common public entity lawsuit questions:
Why Can A Public Entity Attorney Help?
A public entity is:
- Any state or local government; or
- Any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and
- The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any commuted authority.
The terms government entity and public entity are often interchangeable, and include public schools, police, fire departments, hospitals, and the DMV.
What Is Sovereign Immunity?
Sovereign immunity is a legal term government entities use to protect themselves from injury claims. Simply put, sovereign immunity absolves the government from liability. In addition, it removes a regular citizen’s ability to pursue claims against a government entity.
Does Sovereign Immunity Still Apply Today?
Thankfully, many aspects of sovereign immunity no longer apply as of 1948. Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which allows all those injured on government property or injured by a government employee to pursue a personal injury claim against the government. However, one’s ability to file a lawsuit against state or local government will follow state law. For example, the California Tort Claims Act does not allow personal injury lawsuits to be filed against the government for any of the following injuries caused by:
- The California National Guard
- Passing any law, regulation, or ordinance
- Failing to issue any law, regulation, or ordinance
- Failing to enforce a law
- Failing to inspect a non-government owned property
- Reporting to local schools the identifying information of someone convicted of a controlled substance violation
- Punitive damages
Common Injury-Causing Accidents
If you are in public and suffer injuries, it is likely you experienced one of the following accidents:
- Slip and fall on public property
- Public transportation accident
- Public pool drowning
- Faulty playground equipment accident
- Accident caused by government employee – such as a mail truck accident
- Accident due to poorly maintained roads or sidewalks
- Falling tree branches
There are many more scenarios that can cause an accident on public property. However, if you are injured in a public place, contact Sweet James.
Who Is At Fault?
A public entity attorney can help determine this. However, whomever owns a property is responsible for making sure the premises are safe and free from hazards. Federal, state, and local city governments are all responsible for maintaining their government property for all those who enter. Above all, your safety should come first.
In addition, it is important to note that if you have been injured by a public or civil employee, you are not able to pursue a claim against that negligent employee directly. Their employer holds all liability for accidents as long as they are working under the scope of their employment duties.
What Is Duty Of Care?
“Duty of care” is the legal term that describes the responsibility of all property owners and managers to keep their property in reasonably safe condition. According to California law, the government or other property owner must abide by their duty of care to:
- Maintain the property
- Perform regular inspections of the property and be aware of its condition
- Repair any unsafe or potentially unsafe conditions
- Provide adequate warnings of a hazard
How Do You Prove Negligence?
If you have been injured in a public place, your public entity attorney must prove negligence in order to win your public entity lawsuit.
In order to recover a settlement the following must be shown:
- The government agency in question is the proven owner of the property. Or the agency controlled the property and thus responsible for its maintenance.
- A dangerous condition existed
- The government agency is aware of this condition
- Government agency is unaware of the condition but should have known of its existence
- The government agency had a reasonable amount of time to remedy the condition and failed to do so
- Your own recklessness is not the cause of your injuries
If the above is demonstrated, your injury attorney will build a case to prove:
- The public entity had a duty of care to keep the space safe
- The public entity breached their duty of care
- The cause of your injuries is a hazard on the property
- Your injuries resulted in damages that can be remedied through compensation
Negligence happens when a public entity fails their duty of care, resulting in injuries.
Should I Contact Sweet James?
If you have been injured in a public place, your next step is to contact leading public entity attorney Sweet James. Not only does he provide clients with experienced legal representation for all issues regarding public entities, but he handles insurance claim negotiations as well. With Sweet James, you will receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. As a result, allowing you to recover in full. Above all, our attorneys are here for you every step of the way.
Free Police Report
If you or your family are involved or affected by this accident and would like the official Police Report of this incident, Sweet James may be able to help.
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