Nebraska - Greater Lincoln Governmental Liability Lawyers
Lincoln Federal Tort Claims Act attorneys and Lincoln Nebraska State Tort Claims Act attorneys can handle your lawsuit against the government, whether you are suing the federal government, state government, or local government.
Nebraska State Tort Claims Act Lawyers - Government Liability Lawyers Serving Metro Lincoln Residents Injured by the State or Municipal Government
An old Latin adage advises "Rex non potest peccare" or, in English, "The King can do no wrong." This saying expresses the Old World notion that the ruling class was essentially immune from any liability and could reign as they wished, breaking any laws they saw fit. In fact, at English common law, it was impossible to sue the Sovereign or King for redress. Since every state in the United States — with the notable exception of Louisiana — adopted the English common law, it was also historically impossible for a Lincoln, NE resident or any other Nebraska citizen to sue the City of Lincoln, Lancaster County, or the State of Nebraska. In other words, no government liability existed whatsoever.
Of course, much has changed since our country's modest beginnings. The Constitution of the State of Nebraska, in Article V Section 22, allows the Nebraska Legislature to define the ways for the state to be sued. The Nebraska legislature adopted the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act. Prior to the enactment of this Act, Lincoln residents would have been completely barred from suing the Nebraska government for any harms it inflicted upon them.
In a nutshell, the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act allows persons or companies to sue the government for certain actions, while also providing rules and a confined structure for doing so.
The Nebraska Tort Claims Act does not allow recovery in some cases where employees are simply following the law. A Lincoln Governmental Liability Attorney can help you understand the law and will determine if your injury falls under one of the exceptions.
The law limits the time you have to file a claim. Under 81-8,227. Tort claim; limitation of action, you only have two (2) years to file a claim!
"Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, every tort claim permitted under the State Tort Claims Act shall be forever barred unless within two years after such claim accrued the claim is made in writing to the Risk Manager in the manner provided by such act. The time to begin suit under such act shall be extended for a period of six months from the date of mailing of notice to the claimant by the Risk Manager or State Claims Board as to the final disposition of the claim or from the date of withdrawal of the claim under section 81-8,213 if the time to begin suit would otherwise expire before the end of such period."
Thus, the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act represents a huge step forward in recognizing that government bodies, like all other persons and entities, should also be held responsible for their actions, at least under certain circumstances. However, even though the Nebraska legislature waived governmental immunity and created the possibility of governmental liability, it may still be very difficult to hold the City of Lincoln or Lancaster County legally accountable for negligence or wrongdoing. There are still various pitfalls and obstacles that can befall any case against the government. A knowledgeable Lincoln government liability attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and pursue your case against the government.
Administrative Provisions of the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act
In order to sue the State of Nebraska, a claim must first be made with the Risk Manager of the State Claims Board. No suit may proceed unless the Risk Manager allows it or unless the Risk Manager fails to act within six months.
In order to make sure you comply with these requirements, contact an Lincoln government liability lawyer to discuss your claim.
Federal Tort Claims Act Lawyer - Serving Metro Lincoln Residents Injured by the Federal Government
Just like the Nebraska government, the Federal Government traditionally enjoyed sovereign immunity, so those injured by federal government actions could not sue to recover damages. However, the federal government was the largest employer in the United States and many injured employees of the federal government demanded compensation. In addition, many people not employed by the federal government were also being injured by it and they too demanded compensation. For example, if a federal government employee was negligently driving a car down Peachtree Street and injured an Lincoln resident, that person would likely have sought damages from the federal government to compensate them for their injuries. This is just one example of a myriad of ways in which the issue of federal government liability arose over the years. It became clear that sovereign immunity had become outmoded, and, in 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA is similar in nature to the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act; however, there are some key differences. Some important points concerning the FTCA include:
- Prior to filing suit under the FTCA, a claimant must present his claim to the federal agency out of whose activities the claim arises. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2675;
- This must be done within two years after the claim accrues. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401.14;
- If, within six months after receiving a claim, the agency mails a denial of the claim to the claimant, then the claimant has six months to file suit in federal district court. 28 U.S.C. Sections 2401, 2675; No period of limitations applies to a plaintiff if the agency fails to act within six months after receiving his claim;
- Suits under the FTCA are tried without a jury. 28 U.S.C. Section 2402;
- An agency may not settle a claim for more than $25,000 without the prior written approval of the Attorney General or his designee;
- United States attorneys are authorized to settle claims in amounts up to $1 million;
- Attorneys who represent claimants under the FTCA may not charge claimants more than 25 percent of a court award or a settlement made by the Attorney General or his designee after suit is filed, or more than 20 percent of a settlement made by the agency with whom a claim is filed. 28 U.S.C. Section 2678; and
- A court may not order the United States to pay a claimant's attorneys' fees unless the court finds the United States to have acted in bad faith. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2412(b).
For further clarification on how the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Nebraska waiver of sovereign immunity compare, and advice on how to proceed in your case, please contact a Lincoln Governmental Liability lawyer.
Exceptions to the FTCA
There are three (3) main exceptions to the FTCA. They are:
- The Feres doctrine. This doctrine prohibits lawsuits by military personnel for injuries sustained "incident to service";
- The discretionary function exception; and
- The intentional tort exception.
The FTCA applies to many government employees that are injured. For example, postal workers in Lincoln are often injured and seek the help and advice of Lincoln Postal Service injury lawyers. A variety of other government employees and private residents of Greater Lincoln, Lancaster County, and surrounding areas in Nebraska may also be injured by actions of either the federal, state, or municipal government. If you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury due to the negligence of the government, or while on the job as a government employee, call one of the Lincoln governmental liability lawyers on this page for a free consultation.
To read the full text of the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act, click here.
Government Liability Attorneys Serve Metro Lincoln and Surrounding North Nebraska Communities
Call an Lincoln government liability claims attorney today to pursue your case against the government.