Suing a City for Your Injuries: What You Should Know

Suing a City for Your Injuries

When someone’s negligence is responsible for the injuries of another person, that someone is bound to get sued. However, did you know that the one getting sued doesn’t always have to be a person? In fact, sometimes, entire cities can get sued for someone’s personal injuries.

Let’s take this St. Louis incident as an example. KSDK reported that a teenager who lost her legs in a crash sued the City of St. Louis. The crash, apparently, took place because of speeding by another vehicle.

However, as per the lawsuit, the city failed to properly maintain signage where the accident took place. Thus, they’re equally responsible for the crash that took place.

Lawsuits against entire cities aren’t new. Case in point – in the 2022 Fiscal Year, 12,188 claims and lawsuits against NYC were resolved for around $1.5 billion. This was reported by the Office of the New York City Comptroller. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that other cities and places in the US get sued on a regular basis. 

All that being said, if you were to sue a city for your injuries, how would you proceed with it? Let’s get to that discussion in this article. 

Notifying the City

When considering legal action against a city, it is imperative to be aware of the strict timelines associated with filing a claim. Many jurisdictions impose specific notice requirements, demanding that injured parties notify the city of their intent to sue within a certain timeframe. This notice is often a prerequisite to filing a formal lawsuit.

Failure to adhere to these deadlines can jeopardize your ability to pursue a claim. Cities may use the lack of timely notice as a defense, making it essential to consult with an attorney promptly after sustaining injuries. Your attorney can guide you through the process of providing the necessary notice and ensure compliance with the applicable deadlines.

Proving Negligence or Misconduct

Cities may be held liable for a range of issues, including poorly maintained public spaces, hazardous road conditions, or inadequate safety measures.

According to TorHoerman Law, accident victims file injury claims for several reasons, including for seeking compensation for their medical bills and getting justice. Whatever the purpose, they must first build a strong case and prove the negligence on the city’s end. 

Building a strong case requires thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and expert testimony when necessary. It’s essential to work closely with an attorney experienced in personal injury law to navigate the complexities that come with this responsibility. 

Take the teenager from St. Louis, whom we talked about at the start of this article as an example. In order to file a lawsuit against the city, she had to seek help from a St. Louis personal injury attorney.

That’s because personal injury lawyers are well-equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to prove negligence. They had the means to back up the lawsuit, which included proper evidence and testimonials. 

Hence, successful personal injury claims will always have good and experienced attorneys backing them up. 

The Role of Government Immunity Statutes

In addition to sovereign immunity, many jurisdictions have governmental immunity statutes that further define the scope of a city’s liability. These statutes often outline specific situations in which a city may be immune from certain types of claims. The statutes can also set monetary limits on damages that can be awarded.

Understanding these statutes is crucial, as they can significantly impact the outcome of your case. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of government immunity statutes. They can then craft a strategy to maximize your chances of success within the legal framework.

Seeking Damages

In personal injury cases against a city, seeking damages is a central objective. Damages can be divided into two primary categories – compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory damages are for compensating the injured party for losses incurred due to the injury. Calculating compensatory damages requires a thorough assessment of the specific losses you have suffered. Your attorney will play a crucial role in presenting a comprehensive and compelling case for the compensation you deserve.

Punitive damages, on the other hand, are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct and deter similar behavior in the future. While punitive damages are not always awarded, they can significantly increase the overall value of a successful claim.

However, some jurisdictions place limits on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded. Also, according to Forbes, in some states, 50 to 75 percent of the punitive damages awarded are paid to the state. These factors add multiple layers of complexity to the legal process. 

In conclusion, suing a city for injuries is a complex endeavor that requires careful consideration of various legal principles and procedures. From notifying the city to proving negligence, each step in the process demands a meticulous and strategic approach.

Therefore, if you’re suing a city, you need to tread carefully and work with an experienced attorney by your side. Any miscalculation won’t just lose you the case but will also lead to legal or even financial consequences on your end.

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