Do I have to file notice with the government if I intend to sue?

Some accidents result from government negligence. Consider a slip and fall on a public sidewalk or a car accident caused by defective roads. In either of these cases, it is possible that the government is ultimately at fault. However, unlike normal negligence cases, you must file notice with the government before you can sue.

Depending on the exact location of your accident, the time periods for this notice may vary. But in all cases, the amount of time you have to file notice is short. That is why you should contact Goldstein & Bashner as soon as possible after your accident. Our attorneys will review the local statutes and ordinances in effect at the particular location where your accident occurred, ensuring that you never miss an important deadline.

How do I notify the government?

Before you can file a personal injury claim against the government, you must prove that you provided it with notice of the dangerous condition that caused your accident. Since you need proof, the best way to provide notice is with a written record of notice.

Your notice letter needs to be as specific as possible, listing the exact location of the defect or dangerous condition and explaining how the defect caused your injury.

If you leave out any important information from your notice or fail to follow the government’s required guidelines, your notice may be void. If this happens, you will be unable to recover compensation for your injury. However, Goldstein & Bashner will draft the written notice on your behalf, so there is no need to worry.

After you provide notice, it is important that you maintain an official copy of the written notice for yourself. Although the government must maintain a database of these notice letters, it is possible that your written notice could go missing.

Are there exceptions to the notice requirement?

In few cases, the notice requirement is not necessary and you may proceed with filing a personal injury claim even if you failed to provide written notice. These exceptions include:

  1. The government caused the dangerous with an “affirmative act” of negligence. (Failure to act or repair is not enough.)
  2. The government made “special use” (i.e., land use that will benefit the government) of the sidewalk where your accident occurred. (A benefit to the general public is not enough.)
  3. The government knew about the defect before your accident.
  4. The government is leasing the property where your accident occurred.

Our team will review the facts of your case to determine whether your case could fall into one of these exceptions.

Contact Goldstein & Bashner for Help Today

The personal injury lawyers at Goldstein & Bashner will work with you and ensure you file notice in time to hold the government liable for your injuries. Furthermore, we can collect an acknowledgment of notice from the Department of Transportation (DOT), putting to rest all doubt that you meet the notice requirements necessary to sue the government.

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