Oxnard & Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys
Government Liability

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.

Police Liability

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

Premises Liability

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:

  1. That the government agency owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property where the accident occurred;
  2. That the government agency was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
  3. That the plaintiff was harmed; and
  4. 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 and pedestrians.

Compensation

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.

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