Last time, we began discussing the issue of roadway design and use, and holding state and local government responsible for failing to exercise reasonable care in carrying out its duties related to designing, building, and maintaining safe roadways. Although state and local governments are traditionally considered to be immune from tort liabilities, many states allow accident victims to sue in court for damages or to file a claim for compensation.
In Kentucky, the Public Protection Cabinet’s Board of Claims accepts claims against state agencies, departments and employees who act negligently within the scope of their employment. Claims can range from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $200,000 for a single award. Single acts of negligence involving multiple claimants, however, can be awarded with a maximum of $350,000, which is equitably divided among the claimants.
In order to file a claim, a special form must be submitted, and this must be done within one year of the date of the incident. Once a claim is submitted, it is assigned to a hearing officer and scheduled for a hearing, which results in a recommendation to the board, which is then responsible for making a decision on the claim. The amount of time for a decision to be reached varies depending on the amount of the claim, whether or the extent to which the agency admits liability, and other factors.
It isn’t always the case that the Board of Claims returns fair decisions. In cases where the claimant disagrees with a decision, it is possible to pursue an appeal. In our next post, look at why it is important to work with an experienced attorney after an auto accident involving a state or local agency.