Fault in DC Public Property Liability Cases

Public properties are properties governed by public municipalities. This means that they are subject to a sovereign immunity and a victim can only sue them under circumstances that constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity under the circumstances. That is municipal liability law as opposed to a private entity, which is governed by common law.

By and large, when someone is dealing with municipalities, they are not quick to pay or acknowledge liability or fault. Typically, they fight as hard as they can for as long as they can and pay as little as they can when the case is settled. That is why it is important to work with a seasoned premises liability lawyer that is experienced in establishing fault in DC public property liability cases. Speak with an attorney today and know that you are in capable hands.

DC’s Duty of Care to its Residents

Fault in DC public property liability cases can vary, depending on a city’s duty of care to its residents. The city’s duty of care to its residents could depend on the situation that transpired. DC owes a duty of care consistent with their statutory charters and waiver of sovereign immunity. They dictate their own standards of care and any liability that is imputed to a municipality is based on a statutory waiver of sovereign immunity. For any claim, therefore, against DC, DC sets its own standard of care.

Depending on the property’s classification, there is going to be a different standard of care. Also, it may be quasi-federal, which means it is under the joint jurisdiction of both the state and the federal government. In which case, it will be subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act as opposed to the ordinary jurisdiction of the DC courts.

What Jurisdictional Bodies Determine Liability Laws in DC?

The District of Columbia City Council determines the liability laws for the District of Columbia. Also, the federal government determines liability since the district is technically federal property. There is some overlap between DC government and the federal government.

Process of Filing Injury Claims Against the Government

Every government is different. A person can only file a claim against the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which has very specific requirements. They need to present the claim to the government and give them six months to adjudicate the claim internally. Typically, they deny the claim after six months of adjudication and then the person can file suit in federal court under specific waivers of sovereign immunity contained within the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Filing a claim against the District of Columbia is a little bit different. Someone has to file a notice of claim letter within six months from the date of the incident and, under DC Official Code 12309, notice letters must include the identity of the claimant, the date and approximate time of the incident, the location of the incident, the cause of the damage or the injury, and the circumstances under which the damage or injury was sustained.

Recoverable Damages in a Premises Liability Case

Economic and non-economic damages can be recovered. Economic damages are medical bills and lost wages, and that can be both past and future. They are also entitled to recover non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

A factor that can prevent people from seeking recoverable damages is if they were contributorily negligent. The other is if they failed to file a notice of claim within six months of the accident. In order to learn more about fault in DC public property liability cases and how they can recover damages, an individual should speak with a skilled personal injury attorney.