How to Sue a Government Agency for Negligence in North Carolina

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”


It is not uncommon for people to get hurt because of negligence on the part of the state, city, municipality, or any other government agency. Does the concept of “sovereign immunity” protect the government from liability?

broken-sidewalk-government-negligence-Charlotte-Lake-Norman-Monroe-Injury-Lawyers-142x300While it is true that public entities are generally immune from negligence claims, you could still be able to sue the government agency if you are represented by an experienced personal injury attorney in North Carolina.


How to Sue a Public Entity for Your Injury

The first thing most people do to sue a public entity for your injury is to file the Notice of Claim, which alerts the government agency that you intend to file a lawsuit.

The Notice normally contains details about the accident, the severity of your injury, the names and contact information of people involved in the accident, and any other relevant information.

When the public entity receives your claim, it can:

  • Accept your claim and pay the requested amount of damages;
  • Negotiate with you to reduce the settlement amount; or
  • Deny your claim altogether.

In most cases, the government agency that receives a Notice of Claim will let their best lawyers handle the situation to devalue or deny the claim. For this reason, it is vital to seek legal counsel from a skilled personal injury lawyer in North Carolina to prove that the public entity was negligent in order to obtain the compensation you deserve.


Does Sovereign Immunity Make Government Agencies Immune From Liability?

Under the concept of sovereign immunity, public entities are immune from liability. It means that you cannot sue a government agency unless it waived sovereign immunity.

Many public entities in the state have waived sovereign immunity and allow negligence lawsuits if specific criteria are met. It is vital to speak with an experienced lawyer to determine whether the government agency that caused or contributed to your injury waived sovereign immunity and can be sued for negligence in your particular situation.


North Carolina Tort Claims Act and Sovereign Immunity

N.C.G.S. § 143-291 – also known as the North Carolina Tort Claims Act (NCTCA) – provides that state departments and agencies waive their sovereign immunity against certain negligence claims.

Here is how the NCTCA works when suing public entities in North Carolina:

  • If a government employee caused your injury, you could sue their employer (the government agency) for negligence as long as they were acting in the scope of their employment; and
  • You cannot bring a claim against a public entity if its employee injures you on purpose or as the result of an intentional act (in that case, you need to file an intentional tort claim against the person who harmed you.

The NCTCA does not limit the amount of economic damages you can recover, which means you can seek compensation for all your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other economic damages. However, the Act caps non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life, to $1 million.

It is important to work with a North Carolina personal injury attorney to help you sue a negligent government agency. Schedule a consultation with our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to determine how you can sue a public entity for negligence in your case. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video or phone consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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