If you have been hurt in an accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to bring a personal injury action to recover for any losses you've experienced. In most instances, it's a matter of identifying who caused the accident and filing a lawsuit against that person. However, when the wrongdoer was a government worker or the harm was caused by a government agency or entity, there are specific steps you must take to protect your rights.
In New Jersey, a personal injury action where the defendant is a government employee or entity must be filed under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (TCA). In general, the TCA provides for immunity from civil litigation for certain "sovereign" or governmental personnel or entities. This is a carryover of longstanding rules protecting governmental bodies from litigation.
There are, however, exceptions to the "sovereign immunity" provisions of the Tort Claims Act. Specifically, the TCA allows a governmental organization or entity to be civilly liable for the actions of employees "within the scope of employment in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances." So, as a general rule, if you could bring a lawsuit against a private individual who engaged in the same conduct, you can also sue a governmental body or employee.
The most important thing to understand, however, about filing under the TCA is that you must do so within 90 days of the accident. Once your claim is filed, the state has a similar period of time (90 days) to accept or reject your petition.
CONTACT THE ATTORNEYS AT MALLON & TRANGER
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333(toll free at ) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.