Sovereign immunity laws protect specific individuals and entities from liability; but if you find yourself wronged by them, you still may be entitled to compensation. Suffering an injury on public property or at the hands of a public employee does not immediately exclude you from requesting reimbursement. Therefore, you need to fight to protect your rights, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you acquire the compensation you deserve. Let’s examine sovereign immunity laws in the context of personal injury to determine what are your rights and how to proceed in this situation.
Explaining Title 59
Sovereign immunity, also known as Title 59, is a law that protects government entities from litigation in certain circumstances. In other words, a private citizen needs consent to file a lawsuit against a public entity or employee, according to N.J.S.A. 59:1-3. Title 59 explicitly states, “the term public entity refers to the State, and any county, municipality, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public body of the state.”
This verbiage means that any government employee who is acting within the scope of their employment and using good judgment is immune to charges levied by a private citizen, as long as that employee was on the job when they made the decision impacting the victim.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to the rule when it comes to filing a lawsuit against a government entity or government employee in New Jersey. Some exceptions to the rule include the following:
- A government employee went beyond the scope of their employment and left you injured.
- A government employee willfully committed a violent act, such as assault, against you.
- An incident occurred between you and a government employee when he or she was no longer “on the clock.”
- A government employee intentionally committed a negligent act against you.
You will need to prove to the court that there was no immunity present for the government employee at the time of the incident that left you injured or your property damaged. However, providing this evidence can be a challenging feat; making it vital to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in New Jersey about your case.
Filing a Notice of Claim
The process of filing a lawsuit against a government entity or government employee cannot move forward if you do not file a notice of claim. This declaration notifies the government that you are going to file a lawsuit, according to N.J. Stat. Ann. § 59:8-3-8. The notice of claim must include the following information:
- Your personal information (phone number, address, etc.)
- A detailed description of the incident in question
- A list and description of the injuries you suffered
- The name of the employee or entity responsible
- The amount in damages you are seeking
Have Questions About Sovereign Immunity Laws? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have questions about sovereign immunity laws, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced and professional personal injury attorney in New Jersey. The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A., employs a team of expert attorneys who are knowledgeable in sovereign immunity laws and can answer all your inquiries thoroughly. We will fight aggressively for your rights and endeavor to get you the best possible outcome. Remember, with us, it’s personal. Call us today at (973) 358-6134 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential phone consultation.