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Understanding the New Jersey Tort Claims Act

There are potential hazards across the state of New Jersey, so it is no surprise that injuries can happen in public parks or government buildings as easily as in an amusement park or grocery store. What many do not realize, however, is that when someone sustains an injury at a government-owned facility, the rules of premises liability differ slightly.

According to reports from NJ.com, the New Jersey Tort Claims Act is a state law in place that protects governmental agencies in the state from many types of liability. In order to bring a lawsuit, a case must include a government employee "engaging in willful misconduct" or have caused permanent injury to the plaintiff. There are also time limits governing the filing of lawsuits: the public agency must be notified within 90 days of the incident and six months before any lawsuit can be filed.

As FindLaw notes, these types of restrictions are common, and though the government can be sued, sovereign immunity still offers a level of protection from lawsuits that private companies do not have. A lawyer can help clients determine whether or not a case against the government would have merit, and there are often limitations to the kinds of cases that can be brought in court. Like New Jersey, many states restrict the types of cases where liability can apply. Extra steps before filing are common, and in some states, an administrative claim must be made, and denied, before a civil suit can be filed. Time restrictions like the ones in New Jersey are also common, which is why seeking legal counsel in a timely fashion is so important.

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