Does Pennsylvania Have Sovereign Immunity?
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers
Sovereign immunity is the idea that you can’t bring a lawsuit against the government. The theory is that the government is like the king of a monarchy, and they can’t be held legally liable even if they cause harm. Does Pennsylvania have sovereign immunity? Is it modified or conditional? Our Philadelphia personal injury attorney team at Rosen Justice explains.
Does Pennsylvania have sovereign immunity?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has sovereign immunity. 1 Pa.C.S. § 2310 says that the Commonwealth, its officials and its employees maintain sovereign and official immunity except when waived. Notably, there are circumstances where the Commonwealth waives immunity and allows individuals to bring legal claims against government entities and subdivisions.
What is the Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act?
The Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act is 42 Pa.C.S. § 8522. It lists situations where the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania waives its immunity. There are many different circumstances where immunity is waived, including:
- Car accidents; other vehicle accidents
- Railway accidents
- Boating accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Care, custody and control of personal property
- Premises liability; dangerous conditions on property
- Potholes; other dangers on highways
- Liquor sales
- Toxoids and vaccines (in limited circumstances)
- Sexual abuse
If an exception applies, it may be possible to claim compensation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania despite the principles of sovereign immunity. A personal injury attorney near me can evaluate your case to see if you qualify to bring a claim.
How to bring a claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Even you qualify to bring a claim through one of the Sovereign Immunity Act exceptions, there are some important things to know about how the process works. There are a few key differences in claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and claims against other parties.
Pa.C.S. § 5522 creates notice requirements for plaintiffs bringing claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A plaintiff has six months to file a notice of their claim with the appropriate entity. There are requirements for what needs to be in the notice so that government representatives can effectively investigate and respond.
Limitations on damages
Damages may be limited in claims against the Commonwealth. § 8528 of the Sovereign Immunity Act explains what damages caps apply. In general, the limit for a single occurrence is $250,000 per person or $1,000,000 per incident. The statute also states limitations for the types of damages that may be claimed.
Attorney for Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act Claim
Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers can represent you in your claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or a political subdivision. You can bet that the government is going to have a team of attorneys representing them. When you work with an experienced attorney, you can have a level playing field.
Rosen Justice handles injury claims including claims involving sovereign immunity. When you need a ‘personal injury attorney near me’, our team provides aggressive, customized legal representation. Notice periods in sovereign immunity claims are short. Contact us today to begin your claim.