Recovering compensation for injuries suffered because of state negligence
The state of Maryland has the same duties as other property owners — to maintain property in a safe condition and warn individuals about potential hazards. Likewise, state personnel must abide by the standards of care while driving in their official capacities. However, the procedures for filing a claim against the state are very different than for suing a private individual or business.
The Maryland Tort Claims Act
The Maryland Tort Claims Act governs the filing of claims by people who suffered injuries on state property because of the negligence of the government or its personnel. Amongst other important provisions, the statute limits liability to $200,000 to any one person injured in a single incident and sets a one-year deadline from date of injury for filing a notice of claim.
Notice of claim
A written notice of claim must be filed at the Maryland State Treasurer’s office in Annapolis. The notice of claim should include a detailed description of the incident and a demand for specific damages. A person who fails to properly file the notice of claim may forfeit the right to recover damages.
Immunity of state personnel and officials
State personnel and officials are granted immunity from lawsuits if they hurt people or damage property while acting in the scope of their public duties. This means that state agents cannot be held personally liable for accidents that occur while they are driving state-owned vehicles as part of their jobs. Also, police officers and firefighters cannot be sued for damaging property while pursuing an assailant or squelching a blaze. State personnel lose this protection if the harm resulted from their malice or gross negligence. In addition, they receive no immunity for actions considered outside their scope of employment.
If you’re hurt while on state property, seek help from a knowledgeable attorney right away.