Liability differs between public and private property in Virginia, and knowing who to file a claim against may be very difficult. If you or a loved one was injured on property that is owned by the state of Virginia, not a city or a county, then the claim must go through the Virginia Tort Claim Act. Victims must inform the state of their injuries and file a claim within a specific timeframe. The state must have an opportunity to pay the plaintiff before a lawsuit is filed.

In a normal lawsuit, all a plaintiff and their attorney must do is file a suit within two years, but with the Virginia Tort Claim Act, they have to follow a very specific set of rules. You may find it difficult to navigate this complicated legal process, but by working with a local premises liability attorney, you could work to get the compensation you deserve. Premises liability on public property has specific challenges, but a Richmond lawyer who has experience handling these cases could serve as your guide.

Does the City of Richmond Owe a Duty of Care to Its Residents?

Richmond’s duty of care to its residents is going to be the same as any other property owner. However, in certain situations, the government is entitled to higher levels of protection that they have to prove gross negligence instead of ordinary negligence. That is a complex topic and unclear, even in the courts in Virginia. People reserve the right to file an injury claim, but the government will likely to deny liability in almost every circumstance, and even filing a claim may be extremely difficult without the help of a lawyer.

Filing an Injury Claim Against the Government

How people file an injury claim against the government depends on the circumstances of the claim. If it is the Virginia State Government, they must go to the Virginia Tort Claims Act, and this generally requires the help of an attorney.

There are similar rules with the federal government. If they are injured in a national park or other federal property. The Federal Tort Claims Act is similar to the Virginia Tort Claims Act, but has some different rules about giving notice and timing. When it comes to state governments, city, local, and municipal governments, the rules are often quite similar. Although the rules may vary whether the accident took place on municipal, state, or federal property, it should still be possible to establish premises liability on public property in Richmond with the help of an attorney.

What is Sovereign Immunity?

There are specific rules in Virginia that many lawyers and judges do not completely understand based on sovereign immunity, altering the negligence standard. If someone is injured on government property, the government could assert sovereign immunity, increasing what they need to prove from negligence to gross negligence, but the government is not always entitled the sovereign immunity.

To declare sovereign immunity, they must determine whether or not they are implementing a governmental function versus a discretionary function. It is complex, even judge’s ruling on these issues write in their opinions that the rules are hard to understand. Even an experienced lawyer may have difficulty proving the government’s liability for a public property injury unless they have a thorough understanding of these legal concepts.

The jurisdictional body that determines the liability laws in Richmond is going to be the state legislature, which is passing ordinary laws for the entire state of Virginia. It is less common that there are any local-specific liability rules, but individual municipalities, counties, and the cities are still allowed to pass their own roles.

Recovering Damages from the Government in Richmond

The damage or damages that are able to be recovered as a public property premises liability injury are the same as ordinary premises liability. They could recover their damages. The only difference is with the Virginia Tort Claims Act, they are limited to $100,000 in recovery. In that case, if they are injured on state property, they better find somebody who did not work for the state that was also liable, because $100,000 may not cover the extensive damages they might face if their injury is particularly severe.

In other cases, there is generally no cap. If a victim was to sue the city of Richmond for something they did wrong and they are able to successfully prove liability, they would have to pay out just like anybody else. For the most part, municipal organizations are going to have insurance to cover situations like this.

Let an Attorney Fight For Your Rights Against the Municipal Government

If a victim fails to provide adequate notice to the Commonwealth, they may be barred from recovering any damages. In some cases, you may see your financial compensation diminished under contributory negligence if a jury finds that you share some degree of fault in the accident. To learn about your legal options, consult an attorney right away.

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Commonwealth Law Group

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at Call (804) 999-9999 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.

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