Wisconsin - Madison Area Governmental Liability Lawyers
Madison Federal Tort Claims Act attorneys and Madison Wisconsin Tort Claims Act attorneys can handle your lawsuit against the government, whether you are suing the federal government, state government, or local government.
Wisconsin Tort Claims Act Lawyers - Government Liability Lawyers Serving Metro Madison 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 Madison, WI resident or any other Wisconsin citizen to sue the City of Madison, Dane County, or the State of Wisconsin. In other words, no government liability existed whatsoever.
Of course, much has changed since our country's modest beginnings. The Wisconsin legislature has created the Wisconsin Claims Board which handles claims against the State of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Claims Board only handles claims against the State. Cities and Counties must be sued directly. It is also possible to sue the State of Wisconsin. The Board can award up to $5000 on its own, or more with the approval of the State Legislature. Only out-of-pocket expenses are covered, meaning it is very unlikely that the Board will award you pain and suffering damages.
Thus, the Wisconsin Claims Board represents a huge step forward in recognizing that government bodies, like all other persons and entities, should also be held responsible for their actions, at least under certain circumstances. However, even though the Wisconsin legislature waived governmental immunity and created the possibility of governmental liability, it may still be very difficult to hold the City of Madison, Dane County, or any other Wisconsin county, legally accountable for negligence or wrongdoing. There are still various pitfalls and obstacles that can befall any case against the government. A knowledgeable Madison government liability attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and pursue your case against the government.
The Wisconsin Claims Board can be contacted at:
State of Wisconsin Claims Board
P.O. Box 7864
Madison, WI 53707-7864
Filing a claim against the city government of Madison or Dane County
Similar to how the State of Wisconsin had to waive its sovereign immunity to be sued, the government agencies of Madison and Dane County must also waive their governmental immunity by statute to be subject to suit. Thus, if you have been injured by a city or county employee, it is important that you contact a governmental liability lawyer. A Madison governmental liability attorney will know whether you have a cause of action arising from either a state law mandating waiver of sovereign immunity or through a waiver of immunity by the City of Madison or one of its counties.
Federal Tort Claims Act Lawyer - Serving Metro Madison Residents Injured by the Federal Government
Just like the Wisconsin government, the Federal Government traditionally enjoyed sovereign immunity, so those injured by federal government actions 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 demanded compensation. In addition, many people not employed by the federal government were also being injured by it and they too demanded compensation. For example, if a federal government employee was negligently driving a car down Peachtree Street and injured a Madison resident, that person would likely have sought 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 is similar in nature to the Wisconsin Tort Claims Act; however, there are some key differences. Some important points concerning the FTCA include:
- 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;
- This must be done within two years after the claim accrues. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401.14;
- 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;No period of limitations applies to a plaintiff if the agency fails to act within six months after receiving his claim;
- Suits under the FTCA are tried without a jury. 28 U.S.C. Section 2402;
- An agency may not settle a claim for more than $25,000 without the prior written approval of the Attorney General or his designee;
- United States attorneys are authorized to settle claims in amounts up to $1 million;
- 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
- 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).
For further clarification on how the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Wisconsin waiver of sovereign immunity compare, and advice on how to proceed in your case, please contact a Madison Governmental Liability lawyer.
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 Madison are often injured and seek the help and advice of Madison Postal Service injury lawyers. A variety of other government employees and private residents of Greater Madison, Dane County, and surrounding areas in Wisconsin may also be injured by actions of either the federal, state, or municipal government. If you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury due to the negligence of the government, or while on the job as a government employee, call one of the Madison governmental liability lawyers on this page for a free consultation.
To read the full text of Wisconsin's Tort Claim Laws, click here.
Government Liability Attorneys Serve Metro Madison and Surrounding North Wisconsin Communities
Serving clients throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, including Beloit, Brookfield, Brown Deer, Burlington, Caledonia, Delavan, Elkhorn, Fort Atkinson, Franklin, Germantown, Glendale, Greenfield, Janesville, Kenosha, Lake Geneva, Madison, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, Milwaukee, Muskego, New Berlin, Oak Creek, Port Washington, Racine, Richfield, Saint Francis, Salem Oaks, Somers, South Milwaukee, St. Joseph, Sturtevant, Waterford, Watertown, Waukesha, West Allis, West Bend, Whitewater, Wind Lake, areas in the vicinity of General Mitchell International Airport, and other communities in Milwaukee County.
Call a Madison government liability claims attorney today to pursue your case against the government.