In Washington, both state and local governments are required by law to conduct their business activities with a certain level of care.  If government employees fail to meet the level of care required by law and you or your loved one consequently suffers injury or damage, you may have a claim for compensation.

Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., won a case before the Washington State Supreme Court that provides the foundation for government accountability in Washington.  The case of Peterson v. State of Washington established the fundamental elements for government liability that require the State’s employees to exercise reasonable care to protect foreseeable victims of dangerous patients held in State hospitals or prisoners being released from State institutions.  The Peterson case won a significant recovery for our client for injuries caused by a person carelessly released from Western State Hospital.

Following Peterson, our attorneys have successfully handled numerous additional cases against State mental hospitals and the Department of Corrections for the negligent release of dangerous persons. Based upon the legal principles established in Peterson, those injured due to foster home neglect, elder abuse, Child Protective Services’ failures and Department of Corrections’ failures can hold the government accountable.

We have successfully held the State of Washington and various Counties, Cities and municipalities accountable for serious injuries and deaths caused by the their negligent conduct. We have successfully sued the Department of Corrections for the negligent release from custody of dangerous prisoners and for its failures in the required supervision of parolees or persons on work release who later injure or kill innocent people.  In addition, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has been held liable for failing to adequately supervise caregivers who negligently or intentionally cause harm to their adult or child wards.  Even police agencies, whose officers negligently fail to remove dangerous individuals from the highway when they had an opportunity to do so, can be held accountable for serious injuries and death that result.

Government Liability