A state appellate court in Maine recently handed down a decision that demonstrates the importance of meeting deadlines and other procedural requirements when making a personal injury or wrongful death claim, especially when the claim is against a state or municipality. The plaintiff in the case of Deschenes v. The City of Sanford was a man who claims that he was injured when he fell down a dangerous staircase at the Sanford City Hall. After his accident, the plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the city, seeking damages for his injuries. Although the plaintiff gave oral notice to the city regarding his fall and his request for compensation, he did not provide formal written notice of his claim until after the six-month deadline in Maine for providing such notice.
At the district court, the City of Sanford argued that the plaintiff did not properly follow the procedures to sue a government entity in the state of Maine, and that the claim must be dismissed. Specifically, the city argued that Maine’s sovereign immunity act required that cities and towns be notified of negligence claims against them within 180 days of an accident.
Although the plaintiff notified the city in person shortly after the accident, both the district court and the state supreme court ruled that such notice was not sufficient under the statute, and that the plaintiff’s claim must be dismissed. Based on the Maine Supreme Court’s ruling that affirmed the lower court order, the plaintiff will be unable to recover any damages as a result of the city’s alleged negligence that caused his injuries.
Filing and Notice Deadlines for Indiana Lawsuits Against Government Entities and Employees
Indiana courts demand special procedures to collect damages for the alleged negligence of a state or municipal entity or employee occurring within the state. The Indiana Tort Claims Act, specifically Title 34-13-3-6 of the state code, mandates that a tort action for negligence against a government agency or employee is barred unless notice is provided within 270 days of the alleged injury. It is important for accident victims to ensure that the proper form of notice is made, and an oral complaint is usually not sufficient to meet the statutory requirements for notice. While Indiana’s notice deadline is more permissive than the Maine rule applied in the Deschenes case, it remains important for victims to consult with a knowledgeable Indiana personal injury or premises liability attorney as soon as possible after an injury to preserve their chances for relief and to ensure that all necessary deadlines are met.
Are you a Victim of Negligence?
If you or a loved one has been disabled, injured, or killed by a dangerous condition in a public or private place or another act of negligence, the skilled Indiana accident attorneys at Parr, Richey, Obremskey, Frandsen & Patterson would like to use our experience to help you seek the compensation that you deserve. With decades of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, we understand what it takes to be successful on our clients’ behalf, and we do everything we can to help our clients seek compensation for their injuries. Call us today at 888-765-7411 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Appellate Court Determines When Evidence of a Party’s Lack of Insurance is Admissible at Trial, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2016
Recent Appellate Court Opinion Finds in Favor of Plaintiff in Road Rage Case, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2016