Injured on City Property: Can You Sue?
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been injured due to another person’s negligence at some point in their life. If these injuries are serious enough, an individual would do well to file a personal injury claim in order to receive compensation for the hardships that they’re likely to experience.
Sadly, there may be times when it’s actually a city’s or municipality’s negligence that causes an injury, and in these special cases, there are a few things that everyone should understand.
Injuries Where a City May be at Fault
There are several instances where a city or municipality may be at fault for an injury. The main point in determining if the city is at fault, as opposed to a private party, is whether or not the property where the accident occurred is owned by the city. These properties can include sidewalks, subways, bus stations and even courtrooms.
Injuries that occur at the aforementioned areas, and any other property owned by a municipality, may put liability on the city. Slips-and-falls, or tripping and falling, are common accidents caused by slippery stairs, potholes and even uneven sidewalks on city government property. While any of these types of accidents may leave the city liable, it’s not as if they’ll just throw money towards someone. An individual will need to do a few things after their accident.
What to do After the Injury
The steps that need to be taken after an injury caused by negligence on the part of a city are much like those that should be taken after an accident that’s caused by a private party. This includes taking photographs of the scene and what caused the accident, getting names of any witnesses who saw the accident and finding immediate medical treatment for the injury.
It’s also vital to hold on to any bills received for medical treatment, and this applies whether or not they’ve been paid. Notify the city of the incident, also, but most people would do well to find an attorney before doing this. Personal injury lawyers will know all of the locale-specific laws that exist, and they’ll know exactly who to notify of the impending claim.
Problems that May Arise
It’s important to recognize that there may be some problems that may arise even if it seems as if a municipality is at fault for an accident. If someone contributed to their own accident, for instance, states that practice contributory negligence will not allow that person to collect any compensation. This means that if a person trips over a crack in the sidewalk, but they were running a bit too fast, the courts may decide that they deserve no compensation. Luckily, only five states practice this negligence rule.
Additionally, a municipality may not actually be at fault when a person thinks that they are. When the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, MN., for instance, it was not the municipality that faced serious lawsuits. URS Corporation, a company that supposedly performed faulty fatigue analysis on the bridge, was hit with tens of millions of dollars in settlement costs. Once again, a personal injury attorney like those at the Minneapolis-based DeVore Law Office would be able to recognize who really was at fault in a situation such as the above.
Being injured due to anyone’s negligence can be stressful, but it’s especially disheartening when the neglectfulness of a municipality is the cause of an injury. When this happens, it’s important to know that there are some steps that may be taken to help lessen the burden created by the injury. Taking these steps after the accident and at the scene of the accident, all while avoiding a few specific mistakes, can go a long way in ensuring that a person is well taken care of after falling victim to an injury.
Freelance writer Richard Freeland contributes this article for those who have suffered injury on the grounds of a municipality. The DeVore Law Office is a Minneapolis based personal injury attorney firm committed to diligently fight for the rights of citizens injured in accidents, whether on government or private property.