Oxnard Government Liability Lawyer
Can I Sue the Government?
At The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood we regularly hear from individuals
who have been injured in situations regarding government employees or
accidents occurring on public property.
One statement we often hear from potential clients is that they weren’t
sure they should even call us because they thought they couldn’t
sue a governmental entity. While government immunity does exist, it isn’t
blanket immunity that protects every aspect of government from being held
accountable. In fact, we have represented injured individuals and families
that have lost loved ones in claims against the government throughout
our firm’s history. Below are a few examples of the types of cases
that can be brought against the government.
In California, if you are injured by the police you may bring a claim against
the police department for your injuries if you can prove that the police
conduct violates a “clearly established” constitutional right.
This argument can often be made when force is used without evidence of
the commission of a crime. Police officers and departments have been held
liable for injuries caused by:
- Use of Tasers
- Use of pepper spray for crowd control
- Unlawful use of their firearm
- Injuries caused by police dogs
Government agencies can be held responsible for injuries sustained on public
property just as any private party would be. A plaintiff must prove 4
elements to bring a claim against the government for injuries sustained
in accidents that occur on public property. The plaintiff must prove that:
- That the government agency owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property
where the accident occurred;
- That the government agency was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- That the plaintiff was harmed; and
- That the government agency’s carelessness was a substantial factor
in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
- The most common premises liability claims against government agencies involve:
- Slip and Falls
- Trip and Falls
- Failure to provide adequate lighting
- Failure to safely maintain public recreation areas like parks, playgrounds
and swimming pools.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Government agencies are often involved in civil claims relating to motor
vehicle accidents. At The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood we are comfortable
handling motor vehicle accidents involving government agencies in a variety
of situations including:
Auto accidents caused by police officers, fire trucks, ambulances or other emergency
personnel. While many emergency responders are careful drivers, accidents
can happen when drivers are responding to the radio, distracted by the
passengers or simply not paying attention to the traffic around them.
Bus accidents often involve government agencies because many of the busses operating
on the streets and highways are owned by either the city or county. If
the bus driver causes an accident with another motor vehicle, both the
bus passengers and the occupants of the vehicle will have a claim against
the government for their injuries. The government agency responsible for
the bus will also be legally responsible for accidents involving bicyclists
Like any other personal injury claim, individuals who have been injured
as a result of government conduct or on public property may be entitled
to compensation for their injuries. While each case should be individually
evaluated, if you have been injured and a government agency is responsible,
you may be entitled to compensation for the following items:
Property Damage – Property damage can include damage to personal items like computers,
backpacks and cell phones. It can also include cars, child safety seats,
bicycles, motorcycles and helmets.
Medical Expenses – In a personal injury case the responsible party will be required
to pay any medical expenses you incur as a result of your injuries. These
expenses can include things like doctor’s visits, prescriptions,
physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture.
Lost Wages – If you are forced to miss time from work as a result of your injuries
or to attend medical appointments related to your injuries, the responsible
party must reimburse you for the income you lose.
Loss of Earnings Capacity – If your injuries cause permanent injury or disability and you
are unable to return to your previous line of work, you may be compensated
for your decreased earning ability or may be able to obtain compensation
to retrain into a new field.
Pain and Suffering – Compensation for pain and suffering is the legal system’s attempt
to turn back the clock and compensate you for the inconvenience of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a government
agency, we encourage you to
contact The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood to discuss your case. Our Ventura & Oxnard attorneys provide
consultations that are always free and we are happy to answer your questions.