When Alabama residents suffer personal injuries caused by another person, they likely have a right to seek compensation. What happens when the state of Alabama or an Alabama city or town’s negligence causes someone else’s personal injury? Suing the state of Alabama or a local Alabama government can be challenging, but it is possible, depending on the circumstances of your case. Personal injury lawsuits against government entities are not as straightforward as filing a lawsuit against an individual or company.
Alabama’s Sovereign Immunity
The legal concept of sovereign immunity is one of the most important aspects of filing a lawsuit against a government entity. Sovereign immunity gives government entities immunity from liability in certain lawsuits. In other words, a plaintiff cannot bring a lawsuit against Alabama. Many other states have created laws that waive sovereign immunity but Alabama has not done so. Article 14 of the Code of Alabama says that “the State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity.”
Personal injury defendants cannot sue the State of Alabama, but they may have other options. What happens when government employees cause motor vehicle accidents while they are on the job? What happens when a doctor employed by a state or city commits malpractice and causes the death of their patient? Alabama citizens do have some rights to compensation. Plaintiffs can sue state employees when plaintiffs can prove that the employee was acting contrary to the scope and course of their employment.
Suing a State Employee in Alabama
When a state employee runs a red light while on the job, collides with another driver and causes him or her injury, the injured party may be able to bring a lawsuit. Alabama employees are usually immune from personal injury liability unless one of the following exceptions applies:
- The employee had malicious intent when the accident happened
- The employee acted in bad faith
- The employee committed fraud
- The employee engaged in willful conduct that caused the defendant’s injuries
- The Alabama Constitution states that the employee is liable in that particular situation
- The U.S. Constitution states that the employee is liable in that particular situation
How Long Does a Plaintiff Have to Bring a Lawsuit Against a State Employee?
When a plaintiff brings a lawsuit against state truck drivers, police officers, or other employees of the government, they must file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Plaintiffs must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident that caused their injuries. When a federal employee, federal government agency, or a city or town is liable, the statute of limitations is different.
Bringing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Municipalities
If you have suffered an injury caused by an employee of an Alabama city, county, or town, you have more options. Most municipalities allow you to file a formal claim against the municipality within six months of suffering an injury. Plaintiffs must give the municipality directly. Each municipality has a different process for allowing plaintiffs to seek compensation for their injuries.
Hiring a skilled lawyer is essential when filing a claim against a municipality. If a plaintiff does not meet the tight six-month deadline, he or she will lose the ability to bring a claim against the plaintiff. Some municipalities have a reputation of ignoring claims filed by citizens against their employees. A skilled lawyer can make sure the municipality recognizes the plaintiff’s rights.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Bring a Claim Against an Alabama Municipality?
As soon as someone suffers an injury, whether, by a government agent or another person, he or she should speak with a personal injury lawyer. Many people have significant medical bills and are required to take time off of work to heal from their injuries. Plaintiffs have one opportunity to attempt to recover necessary compensation for their injuries. Ensuring that you file the correct claim with substantial evidence is essential.
Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers can Help
At Heninger Garrison Davis, our skilled personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping injured clients throughout Alabama. At our law firm, we understand that injured people deserve more than basic treatment. They deserve high-quality medical care that will enable them to move on with their lives. We investigate the accidents that caused our clients’ injuries in order to determine who is at fault. Our lawyers develop a comprehensive plan to fight for our clients’ right to compensation. Contact our Alabama personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.