We all come into contact with government employees every day: police officers, firefighters, teachers, and city, county, and state employees. What happens when the actions of one of these people injures you? This can come up in a number of situations:
- A car crash with a police vehicle or fire truck
- The use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer
- An injury to a student while on school grounds or during a school activity
- A city’s failure to keep its streets in good repair, resulting in an accident
In any of these situations, or countless others, many people ask, “how do I file a claim with the government?”
Under Arizona law, claims against governmental entities and employees are treated very differently from claims against anyone else. This applies to employees at every level of government, from state to county to city. This also applies to any public school and to all public school employees.
First, Arizona law requires the filing of a “Notice of Claim” in order to bring any sort of claim against a government entity or a government employee. This Notice must be filed within 180 days of the injury. If you fail to do so, your claim is forever barred, no matter how negligent the government was or how badly you are injured.
The Notice of Claim requirements are highly technical. It must be delivered to a specific person (who varies based on the entity) and contain a number of specific items of information, including a specific amount for which you will settle. As with the 180 day deadline, any mistakes in the Notice of Claim can lead to your claim being forever barred.
What should you do if you think you or a loved one has been injured by the government or one of its employees? Contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Do not wait for your injuries to completely resolve. Do not try to file the Notice of Claim yourself. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can insure that your rights are protected.
Andrew J. Becke