If you get hit by an uncle, I hope it isn’t Uncle Sam
Suing the government is one of the trickiest aspects of an accident lawyer’s duties. There are many separate deadlines for different government entities. This is another reason to hire a lawyer right away. There are differing rules for how to sue a town, how to sue a county, how to sue the state, and how to sue the federal government.
There are also notice requirements, which are shorter than the time you have to sue. Many of the jurisdictions have six months notice statutes, and the notice has to be a particular format.
Some jurisdictions will allow a police report that has sufficient detail to describe the accident to serve in lieu of notice, but is very dangerous to assume that. For instance, cases have been dismissed because the accident report did not indicate that anyone was injured because of the police officer’s oversight.
Suing the Federal Government
If you sue the U.S. government, you do not get a jury; a judge decides the case. Some people consider this a benefit because it removes the possibility that the defense lawyer will confuse at least one of the jurors enough to either get a defense verdict or to result in a locked jury.
One good thing for the client about suing the government is that the government statutes usually limit the amount of attorney fees. For instance, if you are suing Uncle Sam, the lawyer can only charge 20% of a settlement, or 25% if the suit was filed.
There are also statutory limits on what you can recover for a loss. In Maryland, this amount is adjusted based on cost of living adjustments.