Can I Sue the City if I Am Injured by Something It Owns?


Injuries can happen anywhere, but in some cases, it's not always easy to know who is responsible. This is particularly true for those who suffer an injury because of something owned or operated by a municipality or in a space owned by a municipality. This could mean slipping and falling on a poorly maintained sidewalk or being struck by a public transportation bus, and many things in between.

If you are such an individual, there's good news and complicated news. The good news is that it is possible to sue a city or other municipal entities. However, the more complicated part is that suing municipalities requires following a complicated set of guidelines and often leads to lengthy legal battles.

Generally speaking, a city is less likely to settle out of court than a private party, so any lawsuit that a person brings against a city stands a greater chance of proceeding all the way to a courtroom. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is something that you must plan for from the beginning to make a truly effective strategy.

As with any legal action, it is usually wise to consult with an experienced attorney before bringing a lawsuit against a municipality. When suing a municipality, an attorney not only helps you build a strong case while protecting your rights, he or she also helps you navigate this specific legal landscape, which is full of unique obstacles.

What should I do first?

No matter how you suffer your injury, the first steps are always the same. After any kind of accident, you should make sure that you seek out professional medical care as soon as possible.

Not only does this lessen the risk of your injury worsening, but it also demonstrates to the court that you care about your own wellbeing. As obvious as that may sound, some individuals suffer injuries and do not seek treatment because they assume it is someone else's responsibility. If you suffer an injury, you bear a responsibility to do what you can to obtain proper aid.

Be sure to keep all the documentation you can get from the care provider. This will help you later on in your case as you attempt to establish not only the facts of the injury accident, but the costs it incurred and the extent of your injuries.

Be mindful of special requirements and deadlines

Unlike private lawsuits, lawsuits brought against municipalities may require you to file separate forms before filing a lawsuit. You may also face a very small window of time to file before a court automatically dismisses the claim.

It is also important to carefully research any limitations on the amount of damages you can receive from a municipality. In many cases, you may find that even if you prevail in the lawsuit, you cannot obtain everything you truly deserve from the settlement.

This should not discourage you from pursuing an injury suit against a city, but it is important to keep in mind as you build your case.