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What Is The Maryland Tort Claims Act And How Will It Affect My Case?

Posted on: March 12, 2016

Prevailing in car accident lawsuits against the State of Maryland and other government entities can be difficult. This is largely due to the fact that such entites enjoy the protection of special rules and exceptions known as “sovereign immunity,” or governmental immunity. These laws originate prior to pre-revolutionary English laws and are derived from the concept that the monarch could not commit misdeeds and was immune from civil lawsuits. Over the time, the laws have been modified to permit suits against the government where the government has waived its immunity, however the liability is often substantially limited in such cases and very strict procedural requirements are often employed. Consequently, even if a police officer, fireman, or government official is responsible for your injuries, you may be without a legal recourse.

The Doctrine of Governmental Immunity and Sovereign Immunity

The doctrine of sovereign immunity protects the State and governments. In general, it means that State and government entities cannot be sued or held responsible for civil claims by its citizens if the government and its agents acted within their discretionary authority. Government immunity is deeply ingrained in Maryland Law. However, over time several exceptions to the rule have been created.

Exceptions to Governmental Immunity and Sovereign Immunity

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides a limited waiver when government employees are negligent within the scope of their employment. The government can only be sued “under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.”

In Maryland all claims against the State must be brought pursuant to the Maryland Tort Claims Act. (MTCA) This statute resembles the FTCA and is modeled after it. The MTCA provides for a limited waiver of sovereign immunity under certain circumstances. It also provides for strict notice requirements that must be complied with. These notice requirments are more stringent and lapse more quickly than the standard Maryland Statute of Limitations. Therefore, failure to comply with these requirements will usually operate as a total bar to making a claim against the Maryland goverment.

Most experts agree that limited government immunity is a necessary and valuable legal principal. However, police officers, ambulance drivers and fire truck operators should be accountable for reckless driving. Therefore, vehicle liability is one of the most common exceptions to government immunity. These typically include emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks en route to a fire, police car chases, and ambulances headed to hospitals. As a rule, a Maryland car accident claim can only proceed against the state if the alleged act occurred outside the scope of public duties. Furthermore, depending on the manner and method of operation of the government vehicle, (i.e. the vehicle is engaged on an emergency run), the level and amount of immunity may also be effected.

Due to the heightened difficulty in cases involving sovereign immunity cases in the State of Maryland, you should be represented by counsel. If you or a loved one have been injured, and you think you may have a claim against a state employee or a negligent party, do not hesitate. Schedule a no-cost evaluation of your case with our office and let one of our attorneys examine your claim.

Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
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UniversalSniping
UniversalSniping
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
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On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
TheOfficalCeeandDee
TheOfficalCeeandDee
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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Chris Shin
Chris Shin
18:23 20 Jun 18
They were very polite, professional. and informed current status of the case time to time. Great Job !!!
Jonathan Roane
Jonathan Roane
22:51 17 Nov 17
If you ever need any assistance with an accident or injury-related claim this is the firm you need hands down. These are the most professional and caring people I have ever met in my life. Two people you should contact are Rebecca Slattery who was actually my paralegal and also Allan Serrano. You will be in good hands.
Israel Thompson
Israel Thompson
00:52 06 Dec 17
Attorney MR Bob Katz outstanding Human being, went beyond and above to help me during my accident, he showed me tremendous kindness and support.Thank you so much will highly recommend him to anyone who needs help with their auto accident
Marta Kritselis
Marta Kritselis
16:19 01 Sep 17
Rebecca Slattery the paralegal She took care my case and she was very helpful throughout the whole process. I highly recommend to my family and friend the services of Attorney Bob Kats and there team .
Myong Kim
Myong Kim
22:04 31 Mar 17
I am grateful to Bob and Justin Katz and their team for working hard to get me the most money. They were very professional and easy to work with in Korean. I will recommend them to friends and family any chance I have.
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