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What happens when a negligent property owner is the government?

An accident at a grocery store, a private home or in a shopping mall that causes you to suffer a serious injury might give you the right to file a lawsuit for compensation against the negligent property owner. Special rules apply when the property owner is the state or federal government.

The doctrine of sovereign immunity is not a factor when you slip and fall on a wet floor in a building owned by a private individual or by a corporation. It becomes a big concern when the building is owned or controlled by the United States or by New York.

Sovereign immunity shields the government against premises liability and other tort claims. In other words, you cannot sue the government for compensation in slip-and-fall accidents unless it waives the protection granted it by sovereign immunity. Although New York has waived its immunity from personal injury claims, there are special rules that apply to suing the government.

Before you can file a lawsuit against a government for injuries related to a dangerous property condition, such as a wet floor, you must file a notice of claim with the government. The notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident in order to preserve your right to sue. In effect, it acts as a statute of limitations that could prevent you from receiving compensation for your injuries if the notice of claim is filed too late.

Making a claim against the government for compensation for a personal injury is a complex process that is subject to different rules than those applicable to lawsuits against a non-government negligent property owner. A New City personal injury attorney is your best source of legal advice and guidance when you believe you might have a claim against the government. This post is not offered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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