The Importance of Following the Procedural Requirements in Cases Against the Government

highwayThe Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA) allows for certain Maryland personal injury cases to be filed against the state and local governments. However, under the MTCA, cases that name government employees or agencies as defendants are subject to additional procedural requirements.

Under Maryland Code section 12-106, an injury victim must first file a claim with the State Treasurer before they can proceed with a personal injury case. Additionally, the following requirements must be met:

  • The claim must be filed within one year of the incident and must provide the basis for the claim;
  • The claim must be denied by the Treasurer; and
  • Any subsequent personal injury case must be filed within three years of the date of the accident.

In the event that a claimant fails to comply with these requirements, the court may still hear the case unless the state can establish that it has been prejudiced as a result of the plaintiff’s failure to submit a claim.

In a recent case, a state appellate court rejected a plaintiff’s claim because it did not exactly comply with the requirements contained in the state’s tort claim act.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in an accident with an on-duty police officer. The plaintiff first filed a timely claim with the city, providing the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the reasons why she was claiming the officer was negligent. The plaintiff sought “full recovery” under state law, but did not provide a dollar amount.

The state where the accident arose also has a tort claims act. However, unlike the MTCA, that state’s tort claims act requires the plaintiff to provide a “specific amount of monetary damages being sought.”

The city argued that by failing to provide a specific dollar amount that she was requesting, the plaintiff had failed to comply with the requirements of the tort claims act and that her case should be dismissed. The court agreed. The court explained that a claim must precisely comply in order to be heard, and that here the plaintiff failed to provide any dollar amount that she was seeking. The court was not convinced by the plaintiff’s argument that by asking for “full recovery” she substantially complied with the statute’s requirements. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident with a Government Employee?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident that was caused by a government employee’s negligent driving, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland car accident attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC are well-versed in Maryland accident law, as well as the pertinent immunity statutes in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We work tirelessly in pursuit of our clients’ claims, and do everything we can to ensure they are fairly compensated for the injuries they have sustained. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Premises Liability Cases Involving Known and Obvious Hazards, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 16, 2018.

Maryland Court of Appeals Allows Premises Liability Case to Proceed Based on Defective Condition of a Property Built in 1990, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 2, 2018.

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