Governmental Negligence

Whether a city, town, county, state, or federal government entity can be held liable for an injury or loss can be complicated.  This is because, long ago, courts held that many governmental entities were immune from responsibility for negligence or malpractice under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.  

In turn, private relief bills and statutes have been passed to permit an injured patient, worker, or motorist to seek compensation from the government if, and only if, the injured individual or his/her family follows the requirements of the applicable statute. In New York State, special statutes typically apply to claims for governmental liability. Those statutes are the General Municipal Law and the Court of Claims Act. With regard to the United States of America, the applicable statute is the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Examples of claims against local and state governments include:
  • automobile accident involving a town-owned pickup truck;
  • heavy equipment accident involving a village-owned excavator;
  • mass transit accident involving public authority;
  • birth injury at a state-run hospital;
  • ceiling collapse a city-owned construction site;
  • nursing negligence at a county-run skilled-care facility;
  • city, town, county, or state roadway defect; and
  • wrongful imprisonment.
Examples of claims against the federal government include:
  • motor vehicle accident involving e.g., United States Postal Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Protection;
  • wrongful death at a VA hospital;
  • medical malpractice involving physician assistant employed by the Army;
  • birth injury involving physician employed by Syracuse Community Health Center;
  • failure to diagnose by nurse practitioner employed by federally-funded clinic;
  • paralysis due to negligently maintained staircase inside federal building; and
  • wrongful imprisonment.
Government entities, by and through their employees, have a duty to drive safely, maintain property, ensure that jobsites and workplaces are safe, and deliver appropriate medical care.  Even so, claimants must recognize that statutes authorizing suit against the government are very strict and, most of the time, provide an injured individual or family with very limited time to act - sometimes as little as 30 days.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types of governmental negligence cases.  To discuss your case or concerns, or legal team can be reached at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by email at