If you are injured by a governmental entity or employee, whether federal, state or local, (“Government”), they may be liable to you. The Constitutions of both the United States and Nebraska, as well as other law, give government, and their employees, “sovereign immunity” for responsibility for the actions of their agencies and employees. However, the government can waive this immunity and be responsible under circumstances they specify. In addition, Federal law does permit certain claims against governmental employees separate from this immunity waiver.

Under Nebraska law, with regard to personal injury claims, a governmental entity is only liable, with a few exceptions, under either the State Tort Claims Act or Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. Both Acts are relatively similar although they each have different time limits and notice requirements.

Generally, a personal injury claim may be brought against the State, a political subdivision or one of their employees for a negligent or wrongful act or omission. In addition, an “innocent person” may make a claim for injuries or death when they are injured during the course of a law enforcement vehicular pursuit. Even though a private person would be held accountable, both Tort Claims Acts do not permit a person to recover for a number of other personal injury cases, such as assault and battery.

Generally, tort claims against the federal government are similar to claims against the State.

There are other laws that permit you to recover against the government or its employees for violations of your Civil Rights. The most common claim is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Generally, there are two distinct types of claims that can be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. One claim is against governmental entities that have enacted or enforced statutes, ordinances, customs, or practices that violate your civil rights. The other type of claim is against individual governmental employees that, under the color of law, deprive you of your rights. To establish a claim against a governmental employee, you must also show that the employee was performing a discretionary function, and violated a clearly established right.

Claims against the government or their employees are difficult for a number of reasons. They have different time limitation and other requirements. If you fail to satisfy all of the requirements, your case will be dismissed and you will not receive any money no matter whether the merits of your case. For this reason you should contact an attorney who can make sure all of the requirements are satisfied.

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Contact Lapin Law Offices if you or a loved one have a claim against the government or a governmental employee for a free initial consultation.