Louisiana - Lake Charles and Louisiana Governmental Liability Lawyers
Lake Charles Federal Tort Claims Act Attorneys and Lake Charles Louisiana Tort Claims Act Attorneys
Louisiana Tort Claims Act Lawyers - Government Liability Lawyers Serving Lake Charles Residents Injured by the State or Municipal Government
An old Latin adage advises "Rex non potest peccare," or, in English, "The King can do no wrong." This saying expresses the Old World notion that the ruling class was essentially immune from any liability and could reign as they wished, breaking any laws they saw fit. In fact, at English common law, it was impossible to sue the Sovereign or King for redress. Since every state in the United States - with the notable exception of Louisiana - adopted the English common law, it was also historically impossible for a person to sue a state government. Modern society has changed laws to better reflect a democratic society, and now states can be sued under some circumstances.
The laws dictating what the government can be sued for and how are extremely complicated. There are different laws depending on whether the Federal, State or Local governments are being sued. The basic premise of the Louisiana laws are that no part of the government and no one working for the government can be sued for anything done within the discretion of their job. This eliminates many possible types of lawsuits, but leaves room for possibilities when Governments or Government officials fail to enforce your rights.
The three main Louisiana statutes concerning Louisiana Governmental Liability are as follows:
- §2798.1. Policymaking or discretionary acts or omissions of public entities or their officers or employees;
- §2792.4. Limitation of liability of members of boards, commissions, or authorities of political subdivisions; and
- §2793.1. Immunity from liability for public entities; fire department; law enforcement agency; public emergencies; F.B.I. agent
Louisiana law requires that in order to be liable for the condition of things or property within the care of the government, the government must have had actual or constructive notice of the defect that made the thing or property dangerous. Constructive notice means that a party can be legally held to have known something because it was obvious or because there were enough facts to lead them to know.
Only a qualified Southwestern Louisiana governmental Liability lawyer can tell you how these laws fit your situation. Governmental liability laws often come with complicated requirements for quickly giving the government notice of the suit. You should contact a Lake Charles Governmental Liability lawyer as soon as possible if anything done by any government or person working for the government has caused you injury.
Some situations that often lead to Louisiana Governmental Liability include:
ThebvvGovernmental Liability for Civil Rights Violations - Including 42 USC Section 1983
Louisiana's State Government, as well as Parish and City governments can be held liable under certain circumstances for civil rights violations. Some types of violations include:
Federal Tort Claims Act Lawyer - Serving Louisiana Residents Injured by the Federal Government
Just like Louisiana, the Federal Government traditionally enjoyed sovereign immunity, and therefore those injured by actions of the federal government could not sue to recover damages. However, the federal government was the largest employer in the United States and many injured employees of the federal government needed compensation for their injuries. In addition, many people not employed by the federal government were also being injured by it and they too needed compensation. For example, if a federal government employee was negligently driving a car and injured a Lake Charles resident, that person would likely need to seek damages from the federal government to compensate them for their injuries. This is just one example of a myriad of ways in which the issue of federal government liability arose over the years. It became clear that sovereign immunity had become outmoded, and, in 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA differs from Louisiana law, but works the same way no matter what state you sue in.
- (1) Prior to filing suit under the FTCA, a claimant must present his claim to the federal agency out of whose activities the claim arises. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2675;
- (2) This must be done within two years after the claim accrues. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401.14;
- (3) If, within six months after receiving a claim, the agency mails a denial of the claim to the claimant, then the claimant has six months to file suit in federal district court. 28 U.S.C. Sections 2401, 2675;
- (4) No period of limitations applies to a plaintiff if the agency fails to act within six months after receiving his claim;
- (5) Suits under the FTCA are tried without a jury. 28 U.S.C. Section 2402;
- (6) An agency may not settle a claim for more than $25,000 without the prior written approval of the Attorney General or his designee;
- (7) United States attorneys are authorized to settle claims in amounts up to $1 million;
- (8) Attorneys who represent claimants under the FTCA may not charge claimants more than 25 percent of a court award or a settlement made by the Attorney General or his designee after suit is filed, or more than 20 percent of a settlement made by the agency with whom a claim is filed. 28 U.S.C. Section 2678; and
(9) A court may not order the United States to pay a claimant's attorneys' fees unless the court finds the United States to have acted in bad faith. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2412(b).
Exceptions to the FTCA
There are three (3) main exceptions to the FTCA. They are:
- The Feres doctrine. This doctrine prohibits lawsuits by military personnel for injuries sustained "incident to service";
- The Discretionary Function Exception; and
- The intentional tort exception.
The FTCA applies to many government employees that are injured. For example, postal workers in Lake Charles are often injured and seek the help and advice of Lake Charles Postal Service injury lawyers. A variety of other government employees and private residents of the Greater Lake Charles and Southwestern Louisiana areas may also be injured by actions of either the federal, state, or municipal government. If you, or a loved one, has suffered an injury due to the negligence of the government, or while on the job as a government employee, call one of the Lake Charles governmental liability lawyers on this page for a consultation.
To read the full text of the Federal Tort Claims Act, click here.
§2798.1. Policymaking or discretionary acts or omissions of public entities or their officers or employees
A. As used in this Section, "public entity" means and includes the state and any of its branches, departments, offices, agencies, boards, commissions, instrumentalities, officers, officials, employees, and political subdivisions and the departments, offices, agencies, boards, commissions, instrumentalities, officers, officials, and employees of such political subdivisions.
B. Liability shall not be imposed on public entities or their officers or employees based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform their policymaking or discretionary acts when such acts are within the course and scope of their lawful powers and duties.
C. The provisions of Subsection B of this Section are not applicable:
(1) To acts or omissions which are not reasonably related to the legitimate governmental objective for which the policymaking or discretionary power exists; or
(2) To acts or omissions which constitute criminal, fraudulent, malicious, intentional, willful, outrageous, reckless, or flagrant misconduct.
D. The legislature finds and states that the purpose of this Section is not to reestablish any immunity based on the status of sovereignty but rather to clarify the substantive content and parameters of application of such legislatively created codal articles and laws and also to assist in the implementation of Article II of the Constitution of Louisiana.
§2792.4. Limitation of liability of members of boards, commissions, or authorities of political subdivisions
A. As used in this Section, a "member of a board, commission or authority of a political subdivision" means a person serving as an elected or appointed director, trustee, or member of a board, commission, or authority of a municipality, ward, parish, or special district, board, or commission of the state, including without limitation, a levee district, school board, parish law enforcement district, downtown development district, tourist commission, port commission, publicly owned railroad board or commission, or any other local board, commission, or authority.
B. A person who serves as a member of a board, commission, or authority of a political subdivision as defined in Subsection A, shall not be individually liable for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury, arising out of the exercise of his judgment in the formation and implementation of policy while acting as a member of a board, commission, or authority of that political subdivision, provided he was acting in good faith and within the scope of his official functions and duties, unless the damage or injury was caused by his willful or wanton misconduct.
§2793.1. Immunity from liability for public entities; fire department; law enforcement agency; public emergencies; F.B.I. agents
A. No person shall have a cause of action against a public entity or the officers and employees thereof for damage to property at the site of a crime, accident, or fire, including without limitation the destruction or deterioration of property, caused while the officer or employee was acting within the course and scope of his office or employment and while taking reasonable remedial action which is necessary to abate a public emergency, unless such damage was caused by willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence.
B.(1) As used in this Section, "public entity" means the state, or a political subdivision thereof which maintains a department responsible for fire protection, and its fire department, or a law enforcement agency, office, or department responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the criminal laws of this state, and its law enforcement agency, office, or department.
(2) For purposes of this Section, the term "public emergency" includes any emergency in which there is a potential threat to life or property requiring immediate or remedial action, in order to insure the safety and health of persons and property, including an emergency created by apparent violation of the criminal laws of this state or an emergency created by fire.
. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation may raise the defense of qualified immunity if arresting for felonies in progress under the laws of the state of Louisiana or if assisting a peace officer of the state of Louisiana.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Lake Charles and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Southwestern Louisiana, including Carlyss, Holmwood, Iowa, Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, Port of Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, and other communities in Calcasieu Parish.
Rest assured that a Lake Charles government liability attorney will be familiar with both federal and state laws and will have the expertise necessary to aggressively pursue your claim and get you the financial recovery you deserve. Contact one of the qualified Lake Charles torts claims act lawyers on this site today.