Can Virginians Sue Negligent Government Employees?

Written by: Virginia Beach Injury Law

In many situations where negligence was a factor that caused a person to suffer some amount of harm in Virginia, a Virginia personal injury claim can be filed to secure compensation for the resulting damages. However, the rules are quite different between what rights a member of the public has when their damages are caused by a person who is employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The rules of limiting rights to civil litigation against the government are not a new thing, and this doctrine is present for many of the laws that exist in America. Derived from British common law, sovereign immunity, as it is known, was established to protect the King. Essentially, the King was immune from legal suits made by the public. Even though this principle was implemented during the birth of America, it eventually succumbed to some adjustments. For residents of the “birthplace of a nation,” the Virginia Tort Claims Act gives the public the ability to take legal action against the government and obtain compensation for their harm. Of course, this comes with limitations.

If you were injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or any other incident where negligence was present, call the Virginia Beach car accident attorney at Virginia Beach Injury Law today.

What Legal Rights do Virginians Have When They are Harmed by a Government Employee?

For a public individual to sue a government employee in Virginia, the government employee must have engaged in or omitted actions that lead to ordinary negligence causing their harm. A victim has only one year to report the situation and file their claim. Also, the amount that they can recover is limited. The VTCA indicates that all claims after 1993 are capped at $100,000.

When actions can be deemed grossly negligent, the protections of the VTCA do not apply. This is different than ordinary negligence. Gross negligence is a more serious form of negligence and is when a person behaved carelessly with no concern or regard to others. Government workers that took unlawful actions that were grossly negligent, can be personally held liable for damages, not the government entity itself.

So, if a government employee is negligent in their actions but does exhibit some amount of care, it may be determined that they were not grossly negligent. In this situation under the VTCA, that government worker personally is exempt from legal challenges. Victims, under the terms of the VTCA, would only be able to secure up to $100,000.

The VTCA provisions largely will favor employees of the Virginia government who commit actions of ordinary negligence while it will not for situations of intentional tort.

Speak with a Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney Today

Navigating personal injury law in the state of Virginia can be complex especially when accidents arise with a government official or employee. But, a victim in these incidents may have some rights with respect to obtaining at least a limited amount of compensation for the harm they suffered. 

To have your injury incident reviewed by a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney, please call Virginia Beach Injury Law at (757) 802-4662 to schedule a free consultation.

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