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Special Rules Apply when Suing the Government

Oct. 3, 2019

Generally speaking, at least in recent times, governments and their employees have been held to the same negligence standard as everyone else. In other words, if an employee of the government acts negligently or negligently maintains the public property, then victims of an accident can file a personal injury action.

However, Kentucky residents need to proceed cautiously when suing the government, as there are special rules that apply. For a number of historical and legal reasons, a person who does not follow these rules can wind up unable to pursue even an otherwise valid claim for compensation.

For instance, when suing the federal government or an agency thereof, Kentucky residents must follow the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act. While the details of making a claim against the federal government can vary, the basic idea is that a person contemplating a personal injury lawsuit against the United States needs to first properly file a claim within the timeframe allowed. Not filing this claim before suing could result in the summary dismissal of the lawsuit.

Likewise, Kentucky law requires a person who wants to sue the state government, or any agency thereof, to file a claim with an organization recently re-organized as the Kentucky Claims Commission. Claims, which can include claims related to automobile accidents, must be filed on an approved form and within one year after the incident occurs.

Although suing the government requires some additional steps, it certainly is an option that injured Kentucky residents can explore if they suffered injuries due to the negligence of a government employee.

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