Suing the government for premises liability requires overcoming a number of legal hurdles. It is true that government entities do owe the public a reasonable duty of care on public property, and the government can be successfully sued when they fail in this duty and someone gets hurt.
However, claims against the government are often up against tighter timelines. In some states, claims have to be filed within just 30 days of the incident. You also generally have to provide proper notice to the government agency so that they can launch their own investigation. It’s only once the statutory timeline has passed for that investigation that you can actually file your lawsuit. And then from there, you may have to deal with the headache of sovereign immunity. The government does waive its sovereign immunity rights for a wide range of personal injury claims. However, if the injury stemmed from negligence related to a function of government that involved planning decisions and discretionary choices, the discretionary function exception may apply and the government could be immune from litigation.
Typically, if your claim is based on an act or omission of a government worker who exercised due care in executing a regulation of statute, the government won’t be liable. Further, the government generally isn’t liable if that government worker used discretion in his or job – regardless of whether that discretion was abused. Continue reading