Government Liability

Recovered for
Our Clients

Note: Like every person, each case is unique. Prior case results should not create expectations of an outcome in any individual case.
Aerial view of a road winding through managed evergreen forest in Grays harbor County, Washington, USA.

How to Sue a Governmental Entity in Washington State

In order to bring a civil tort suit to a governmental entity in Washington State, there are steps that must first be carefully taken.  This is because of the concept of “governmental immunity.”

In 1961, Washington State waived governmental immunity, and held itself to the same code of conduct and accountability “as if it were a private person or corporation.”  RCW 4.92.090.  In 1967, the Washington Legislature held local governments to the same standards.  RCW 4.96.010.

However, in order to bring a lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death, a tort claim form must first be filed with the governmental entity. RCW 4.92.100. There are other pitfalls that can impact your case because sometimes immunity can still be raised as a defense.  This includes government claims of “qualified immunity” in police cases and “discretionary immunity” which is often claimed in highway design cases.

Corinthian Columns

We Have Been at the Forefront of Governmental Liability Cases in Washington for Over 50 Years

Through litigating our clients’ cases, we have helped to pave the way for highway design cases in this state.  We have specific expertise in establishing the legal responsibility of governments to exercise reasonable care in the design, construction, and maintenance of our roads, highways, and sidewalks.  And we have continued to enforce those legal obligations on behalf of our clients injured by the failure of governments to meet that standard.

We have resolved actions against law enforcement, which can be challenging due to the defense of “qualified immunity” to shield officers from liability.  In 2021, our work in the Charleena Lyles v. City of Seattle case resulted in an appellate decision that upheld an individual’s right to sue officers for negligence and placed the burden upon the police – not the plaintiff – of proving the “felony defense rule” which could bar a lawsuit.

Flag of Washington waving in the wind against deep beautiful sky. 3d illustration.

Cases against governmental entities can be especially challenging.  There are minefields and roadblocks. The governments and their insurers have vast resources.  The expenses can be considerable. But we consider it a privilege to continue to represent people who have been profoundly injured or killed due to the fault of a governmental entity.

Types of Government Lawsuits

Settlements for Government Liability

  • $28,000,000 settlement awarded to 15-year-old Skylar Seward who now suffers from quadriplegia after riding as a passenger in a vehicle that over-corrected and struck an overpass pillar
  • $10,000,000 settlement for family who was injured when a tree fell on their car
  • $5,300,000 settlement awarded to Pamela Dunham after car collision rendered her quadriplegic

The Government Liability Attorneys at the Stritmatter Firm Are Here to Help

Contact us today to find out if you have a government liability claim at 206-448-1777 for more information and to set up your free consultation.

Request a Free Case Evaluation

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Seattle Office
Phone | 206.448.1777
Hoquiam Office
Phone | 360.533.2710