You’re out and about, minding your own business, walking down the street, when the unthinkable happens: a patch of oil or ice, or a crack or hole in the pavement, causes you to lose your feet and you go down. You get seriously hurt and your mind starts to spin: what about work? What can you do to get the medical bills paid as they start to rack up? Who can be held responsible for your injuries?
If it’s a public place, many people wonder if they can sue the city for their damages. The answer is that sometimes you can, but it can be complex. Learn what happens when you get hurt on public property, and whether or not a personal injury lawyer can help you sue a city for the damages you suffer.
Filing a Lawsuit against the City
The first thing you’ll need to understand is that filing a lawsuit against a municipality can get very complicated pretty quickly. In some cases, the local government may have immunity against certain types of suit—for example, they might not be technically responsible for removing that patch of ice on which you slipped. There might also be limits to the amount you can collect from a lawsuit against a government. These vary from city to city but can be as little as $10,000 in some cities but $100,000 in others.
You’ll need to prove negligence. This means you’ll have to show that the city had a duty of care to keep their streets and sidewalks safe, that they in some way violated this duty and that’s why you had an accident and got injured. To do this you’ll need evidence, so you should gather all you can. Take pictures. Talk to witnesses. Get anything you can to back up your story.
The Claim Notice
The next step is to file a notice of injury claim. This is essentially a letter that tells the city you’ve been hurt and intend to seek compensation for your injuries. While the specific contents of this letter can vary from place to place, most at least require your name, contact information, a description of the accident and injury, the time, date and location where it happened, and the exact damage figures you’re seeking.
You’ll then have to wait for a specific amount of time (which can vary with each municipality) for the city to respond to your claim. Usually, they’ll decline to pay, but if they agree, that’s the end of your journey—you’ll get paid!
Filing the Lawsuit with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If the city denies your claim, you’ll need to proceed with a lawsuit. The city will usually fight hard to invalidate your suit, so you’ll need the best help you can get to gain compensation for your injuries.
This means working with an experienced personal injury lawyer. For years, the attorneys at Robert White have worked to protect people in Odessa and all of West Texas from damages suffered from injuries and accidents. If you’re fighting a claim and need help, give us a call today!