Atlanta Municipal Claims Attorney
Municipal injury claims refer to personal injury or wrongful death claims against the state of Georgia or any of its respective cities or counties. The government could be the proper defendant in a personal injury when a government employer or government agency is responsible for the injury. The most common examples include a vehicular collision with a government vehicle driven by a negligent government employee or a slip and fall on government property.
Claims against the government have to be handled differently than claims against private individuals or businesses. Atlanta personal injury attorney Norm Sawyer has a wealth of experience with these claims as a defense and a plaintiff’s attorney. As staff counsel for one of the nation’s largest insurers, Mr. Sawyer traveled to the insurance company’s municipal claim headquarters to train the entire municipal claim department on Georgia governmental liability.
Time is of the essence when it comes to municipal injury claims. Sawyer Injury Law can ensure that your claim is filed promptly and correctly based on deep knowledge and years of practical experience in Georgia municipal injury and governmental liability claims. Contact an Atlanta municipal claims attorney if you or a loved one experienced a serious injury in one of the following ways:
- Slip and fall in a government building or on a public road or sidewalk
- Collision with a government vehicle
- City bus crash
The Government Requires Timely Written Notice of a Claim
Injury victims always have to watch out for the statute of limitations on their claims. A statute of limitations is a law that puts a deadline on when lawsuits can be filed. For personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. If you try to file a lawsuit after this date has passed, the defendant will get the judge to dismiss the case because you filed too late.
You might think that two years is plenty of time to file a lawsuit, but there are many reasons why this deadline might slip by. For one, after a serious injury, you could be incapacitated for days, weeks, or months. During this time, you are focused on your physical recovery. Then, once you get back on your feet, you are concerned about getting back to work and getting your life back in order.
All the while, you are dealing with mountains of paperwork from doctors, hospitals, and insurance company. And the clock continues to run on your time to file.
Given the disruption a personal injury creates in your life and the thousand things you have to attend to, it is easy to see how quickly time can slip by. On top of that, if you are in negotiations with the insurance company, they might drag out negotiations beyond the two-year limitations period, which gives them an upper hand when they no longer have to face the threat of a lawsuit and a jury trial. If you wait too long to get an attorney, your lawyer might not have time to do the work necessary to file a lawsuit before the limitations period expires.
When an injury claim involves a government defendant, you have to watch out for an extra deadline on top of the statute of limitations. Government agencies require notice that you have a claim, and you have to provide that written notice within the applicable timeframe. When the federal government is the defendant, it just so happens that the notice period under the Federal Tort Claims Act is two years – the same period as the Georgia statute of limitations.
When the defendant is a Georgia government entity, however, the notice period is much shorter. If you have an injury claim against the state of Georgia or a county such as Fulton County or Cobb County, then you must provide notice of a claim to the appropriate agency within one year from the date of the agency. If your claim is against Atlanta or another Georgia municipality, you only have six months to file your notice of claim. If you neglect to file a notice of claim within the applicable six-month or one-year period, you can be barred from suing the government for the negligence that caused your injury.
The notice of claim should be in writing and specifically describe the time and place of the accident, the extent of the injury, and as nearly as practicable, the notice should describe the negligence that occurred.
MARTA Bus and Public Transit Injuries
Municipal liability claims include claims against the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or automobile driver, a collision with a city bus can cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Be sure to hire an attorney experienced in municipal claims as soon as possible after a MARTA bus crash.
MARTA injury claims can also be filed by passengers on the bus who are injured in a vehicular collision that is the fault of the bus driver. Passengers can be injured in other ways as well, such as a fall when the bus makes a sudden stop or starts going before passengers are safely seated. Slip or trip and fall claims can also occur when the bus stops too far from the curb, creating a hazard for those stepping on or off the bus.
As a common carrier, bus drivers owe a higher duty to their passengers than to others on the road. Bus drivers must exercise ordinary care when it comes to driving safely and avoiding collisions, but they must use extraordinary care when it comes to the safety of their passengers.
Get Help From a Seasoned Atlanta, Georgia, Municipal Claims Attorney
Atlanta personal injury attorney Norman Sawyer is vastly experienced in municipal claims, having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in governmental liability cases. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a collision with a government vehicle, a slip and fall on government property, or some other incident involving municipal liability in Metro Atlanta, contact us today at Sawyer Injury Law for a free consultation about your potential claims.