Can a personal injury claim be filed against the government?
By z4027672030, Jan 15 2016 09:32AM
If you’ve recently been in an accident which was caused by someone acting on behalf of the government, for instance a police officer driving a police car, or a rubbish collection vehicle operated by the local authority, you do indeed have the right to file a personal injury claim against the government. Under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, you can hold the government liable for the tort, any action or inaction which causes harm to someone.
There are, however, a few exceptions – for instance, a member of the armed forces cannot sue another for injuries which arose during service, though there are specific exceptions to this. There are also limits on the duty of care that is owed by public bodies – the police, for example, don’t strictly have a duty to warn the public of dangerous road conditions, though normally they make an effort to do so.
When filing a personal injury claim, the first challenge is to identify the exact defendant, as the UK government has a number of different public bodies, and in some cases, it may appear that more than one could be to blame. In order to correctly identify who the defendant ought to be, it is always best to enlist the help of a solicitor or legal professional. Once the correct public body is identified, certain rules need to be followed regarding sending a letter of claim and giving notice of legal proceedings. With different bodies, different people may need to be contacted, for instance, the Chief Constable in the case of the police, or a department solicitor for a government department.
Early on in the process, the person making the personal injury claim will also need to disclose a certain amount of information about the case according to court rules, and this is also true for the defendant. There is an exception, however, where public interest immunity will protect information from being disclosed should it be against the public interest, for instance if it could affect national security. Ultimately, whether to apply public interest immunity is up to the courts, though in the vast majority of cases, the principle will not apply.
If you’ve recently been in an accident and require the help of personal injury solicitors, North Devon firm Taylors Solicitors are here to help, offering a friendly, professional and straight-forward service.