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Do governments all have sovereign immunity against being sued?

If you're hurt as you cross the road, walk on the pavement of a sidewalk or while you're at a government-owned park, who can be held liable for your injuries? Usually, in this kind of situation, you can pursue a claim against the government.

In some cases, governments have what is called "sovereign immunity," which means it's immune to being sued. However, state and federal laws have changed over time, and now these agencies are no longer as immune as they once were. In certain situations, the government can be held liable for your injuries, just like any other property owner.

When you decide you want to make a claim against the state or municipal government in your area, you'll need to speak with your attorney to decide who the liable party is most likely to be. Then, you'll need to review the state immunity laws, since they can vary. If you were injured by a special defect, like a tree falling into a roadway, the government might be able to be held liable. If it knew that the tree was close to the road, had fallen or could be dangerous and did nothing to prevent or quickly remedy the situation, you can usually make a claim.

When you decide to make a claim, you may need to file a notice. This is something special designed to comply with state regulations. These rules also vary, which is why your attorney will be particularly helpful during the early stages of your case. That's when you'll need to file the most paperwork and be particularly careful of following procedure.

Source: FindLaw, "Premises Liability Claims Against the Government," accessed Nov. 19, 2015

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