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Can I Sue a City Over an Accident-Related Injury Claim?

City Hall Building Stock Photo

Filing a lawsuit against a municipal entity, be it city, state or federal government can be tricky. However, if you are injured due to the city’s negligence, it may be possible to collect damages from the local government.

However, there may be complications and limits on what you can collect. Learn about the complications and difficulties involved with suing a city over a personal injury claim, and how a South Carolina personal injury lawyer can help.

Lawsuits against Governments

Filing a lawsuit against a government or municipality, even a local one, is possible, but generally, carry a lot of complications. They usually begin by filing a notice of claim against the city.

While the exact contents of this notice can vary from city to city, usually they will need to include the names and contact for everyone involved, a detailed description of the accident, a description of the resulting injuries and the damages and compensation sought.

In South Carolina, you will also need to include information about the conduct of the city or any agent of the city which constitutes the basis of your claim. You have 180 days to file this claim. Different South Carolina cities may have their own rules about these claims, so check with your city or attorney for more information.

Preparing the Lawsuit

The city may choose to settle your case after receiving your notice. In general, however, you should expect them to refuse payment, and you’ll need to file a lawsuit to collect damages. You will have to establish standard negligence as with any lawsuit—the city violated a basic duty of care, which resulted in an accident that caused your injury. This requires a preponderance of evidence on your part, and you can expect the city to use a number of tricks to avoid settling.

The Immunity Problem

The biggest problem you face when filing suit against the city is that of immunity. Municipalities enjoy a number of privileges under the law that private citizens don’t. For example, the city may have no duty to provide clearing of ice on sidewalks outside of city buildings. They may not be required to pay out for damages due to an accident involving a municipal garbage truck.

The exact immunities enjoyed may vary from place to place and can be extensive. In addition, there could be limits to how much money you can collect, based on the individual case as well as the location.

Hiring a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re hurt in an accident and you believe that the city’s negligence was at fault, you should never try to handle the case yourself. There are too many complexities involved. Rather, you should seek the services of a solid South Carolina personal injury lawyer, who knows the local immunities, requirements and needs to file a personal injury suit.

At Harris and Graves, we’ve handled these kinds of cases and have the experience to help you. Complete our online contact form or give us a call today and we’ll evaluate your case at no cost.