In most car accident cases, the driver is liable for your injuries. The owner of the car operated by the driver may also be liable. Other possible defendants could include a Tavern that sold alcohol to the driver while the driver was intoxicated. In slip and fall cases, the owner of the premises is generally liable if they failed to protect you. In some cases, a maintenance crew or the owner of a construction company may also be liable.
There are cases, though, where a governmental entity may be liable. In car accident cases, a County may be liable if their employee caused a car wreck while on the job. When someone falls on property that is owned or managed by governmental energy – such as a state office building – the state of Colorado or other governmental entities may be liable for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income.
As a general rule, the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) protects the State of Colorado, governmental agencies, and governmental employees from claims for negligence. The law is based on the principle that the government has limited financial resources to pay claims. The priority should be on providing governmental services without constant concern about being sued for liability. Governmental immunity is also called sovereign immunity.
The Colorado Governmental Immunity Act means that experienced personal injury lawyers must work diligently to file claims against all other individuals and businesses that may be liable for your injuries.
Governmental immunity in Colorado?
The good news is that the CGIA (Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-10) does provide for some waivers. These waivers permit victims and the families of anyone who was killed in a car accident or injured on the property of another to file legal claims under certain conditions. The claims can be filed against the state and local government agencies responsible for the injuries or death.
Waivers of governmental immunity are permitted in the following categories:
- Operation of a motor vehicle such as a car or truck which is leased by a public entity and operated by an employee of the government – during the course of employment of the employee.
- The operation of a hospital, jail, or correctional facility.
- A dangerous condition in any public building.
- A dangerous condition of public highway, road, or street. A dangerous condition might include traffic signals that don’t work, speed limits that are too high, or roads that are in a state of disrepair.
- The operation or maintenance of various public utilities such as a water facility, a sanitation facility, a gas facility, or a power facility. The government may also be liable for the faulty operation of a swimming facility.
The governmental immunity waiver also applies when there is a failure of the governmental entity to perform a required educational employment background check as required by Colorado law.
Whether a waiver can be used may depend on other exceptions or limitations which an experienced Aurora personal injury lawyer should explain.
Time limits – statute of limitations and notice requirements
There are two different types of time limit limitations that plaintiffs must meet in order to file a claim against the state of Colorado or a governmental agency. The first is that all personal injury claims in the state must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations. In addition, there is a formal notice requirement of approximately six months that must be met.
The CGIA law requires that anyone involved in a car accident, premises liability accident, or any other type of accident must file a written notice with the governmental entity or person responsible for the accident within 182 days after the date of the accident.
The notice should include the following information:
- The identity, name and address, of the accident victim and of the attorney.
- A summary of the facts of the claim such as when and where the accident occurred, what happened, and the act or a mission that is considered negligence.
- The identity, name and address, of any known employees of the governmental energy involved in the event
- A detailed statement of the injuries the victim suffered and the extent of those injuries including death.
- How much monetary damages the victim is requesting.
The state has 90 days to respond to the notice. If the state doesn’t respond within 90 days or the state denies the claim, then the accident victim may then file a legal claim against the appropriate state entity.
Therefore, it is critical that accident victims or the families of deceased victims speak with an experienced Aurora personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. Delay can terminate your right to file a claim against the state.
Monetary limitations in governmental immunity cases
The CGIA limits the amount of damages that can be recovered in a car accident, premises liability, or other type of personal injury case. The current cap is $350,000 for any one accident to any one person. The cap of $350,000 covers all public entities or employees that may be responsible. Damages include a victim’s pain and suffering, income loss, medical expenses, and property damage. A spouse may also have a loss of consortium claim.
Car accidents and governmental immunity
Many CGIA cases involve a car or truck accident caused by a governmental employee. Generally, an employer is liable for the accidents caused by an employee – while the employee was working for the employer. The CGIA gives the victim the right to file a claim against both the employer and employee. If the employee was not acting/driving in the scope of his/her employment, then just the employee would be liable.
Slips and falls on governmental property
Visitors to any local or state government office have the right to expect that the property is safe. Especially in winter, public buildings should be routinely inspected for accumulations of snow and ice which should be cleared as soon as possible.
Talk to a strong caring Aurora lawyer today
At the Law Office of Anna L. Burr, LLC, we file claims against all responsible parties including the state, the county where the accident happened, and any responsible government agencies. We understand how important it is to comply with the time limit requirements. To discuss a car accident car or an injury due to poorly maintained properties, call us today. You can contact me online or call 720-500-2076 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.