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Suing Uncle Sam: Premises liability in government

With accidents and injuries common on public roadways and in spaces such as parks, people in New Jersey should be aware that the government has some protection that private businesses do not have. For those who believe they have a case against a government agency, it is important to note the differences.

As FindLaw explains, this protection is due to sovereign immunity, which used to prohibit people from suing government entities. The rules have since changed, allowing the government to be held responsible in certain cases, including personal injury claims. There are differences, however, from bringing a case against a private entity. First of all, bringing a case can have added hurdles, including filing an administrative claim before a civil case can be brought in court. There are also time limits on claims against the government that can vary state by state, so for those who believe they have a serious claim, it is important to seek legal counsel quickly. There are exclusions, in some states, on the type of lawsuits that can be filed, such as restrictions on medical malpractice lawsuits or suing a legislator. States also often put limits on the amount of damages able to be awarded to a plaintiff, which can lower the amount awarded by a jury. 

According to NJ.com, the New Jersey Tort Claims act requires notice of a lawsuit to be filed within 90 days of the incident and six months before the lawsuit is actually filed. The law also protects agencies from being held liable except when an employee "engages in willful misconduct" or a case where a person sustains permanent injury. 

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