Many people in the Portland area might not think that they would ever have a reason to sue the state or a local government.
However, thinking about it, Oregon’s government includes many different agencies. Likewise, Multnomah County, Portland and the surrounding communities all offer many different services through a number of channels.
Each of these agencies employs workers who, like other workers, have the right to sue if their bosses violate Oregon’s legal protections for employees.
These agencies’ employees also frequently have to drive as part of their job duties. A government employee could easily be responsible for a serious motor vehicle accident.
Agencies also often maintain buildings and other property that are open to members of the public as well as invited guests. If a person gets hurt on government property, they may have the right to sue.
Finally, medical providers who work at public hospitals and clinics, including Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) for example, are state employees. Any medical malpractice claim against them would fall back on the government.
Having to sue the government makes an injury claim harder
Suing the government is more difficult than suing a private Oregon business in a number of important respects.
On a purely practical level, government agencies may be able to spare no expense on defending against a legal claim. Leadership may elect to fight against a claim with no compromise.
A government body may also have other important legal protections against lawsuits, which would not apply to a private party.
For example, the person with the claim will have to provide proper written notice and will have to do so within the required time frame.
If an injured person fails to follow these rules, they may forfeit an otherwise valid claim against the government agency.
Victims should also be aware that limits on how much compensation they can recover from the government may apply.
An Oregon resident who thinks they may have a claim against the state or local government should evaluate their legal options promptly and carefully.