Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Washington’s Sovereign Immunity Waiver

Posted Saturday, September 2, 2017 by Chris Thayer

If you are injured in an accident, then state law allows you to sue the responsible individual or entity for damages. But what if responsibility lies with a government actor? In most states, the government is immune from liability except under limited circumstances. This often leaves injured parties without any type of recourse.

Washington abolished the sovereign immunity doctrine in 1961, leaving the state government open to tort liability.

Washington’s Government Liability Law

Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that protects the government from being sued without its consent. This protection generally extends to government agencies, government-created entities, and other government actors. Some argue that this protection allows the government to fulfill its duties without being exposed to frivolous lawsuits and faced with great financial burdens.

It also prevents people injured by government actors unable to recover damages for their injuries, which was the impetus for this state’s change. For example, before Washington eliminated sovereign immunity, a government employee who caused a car accident while performing a governmental function could escape tort liability.

Washington’s immunity waiver is not without its limits. Claims against the state must arise out of the government’s “tortious conduct to the same extent as if it were a private person or corporation.” This means that any tort limits that apply to private citizens and businesses also apply to the state. There are also certain procedural requirements that claimants must follow. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a viable personal injury claim against the government and ensure that you comply with the procedural requirements.

Filing an Injury Claim Against the Government

All claims arising against the state must be presented to the Office of Risk Management in the Department of Enterprise Services using the official claim form. Here are a few other things you should know about filing a personal injury claim against the government:

The official claim form is available on the Department of Enterprise Services’ website.The form is deemed presented when the form is delivered in person or by regular mail, registered mail or certified mail (with return receipt requested), or as an email or fax attachment, to the Office of Risk Management.

The form requires certain information, including the claimant’s contact information, a description of the conduct that resulted in the claimant’s injuries, a description of the injuries and whatever information is known about the people involved in the incident.Claimants must wait 60 calendar days between presenting the form and filing a personal injury lawsuit.

One interesting aspect of Washington’s liability waiver is that it applies not only to state officials and government employees, but it also extends to government volunteers. If a government volunteer acts negligently in the course of his volunteer work and causes an injury, the government can be held liable.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you have been injured because of a government actor’s negligence. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the litigation process and help recover compensation for your injuries.