Frequently Asked Questions About Suing A City Or County Following A Car Accident

Posted on: 14 January 2016

If unsafe roadways caused you to be injured in an accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the entity responsible. In most cases, this is the city or county where the accident took place, as they are often responsible for maintaining the roadways. However, bringing a claim against the government is different than bringing a case against an individual. As such, you may have many questions. Here are a few of the questions you may have about bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a city or county following a car accident and the answers.

When Can I Sue the City or County Government Following a Car Accident?

You may sue the city or county following an accident when you feel that they were negligent with their responsibilities and that negligence led to the accident. For example, if you are traveling on a road that is poorly lit, and the county has had issues with this location and has done nothing to limit the accidents, then you have a fairly strong negligence case. Or if a road is cracking and crumbling away due to a lack of repairs, and this contributed to the accident, you can file a case. It is the city or county's job to maintain the roadways and keep them safe, and if they fail to do so, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against them.

How Long Do I Have to File the Personal Injury Case

In most states, you have two years to file a personal injury claim against another person. However, when you are filing a claim against a business entity, the statute of limitations, or amount of time you have to file the claim, is significantly shorter. Depending on the city, county and state the accident occurred in, you may only have 30 to 120 days to file your lawsuit. If you fail to file the claim before the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to bring a case against the government entity in the future or recover any of the money you may have been entitled to.

How Do I File the Claim Against the City or County?

When you attempt to sue a city or county government certain factors may need to be met before you bring a lawsuit against them. Depending on where you live, you may have to file a Notice to Claim. This notice informs the city or county government that you intend on suing them and gives them the chance to attempt to settle with you before a formal suit is brought against them. This notice also provides the city or county with all of the information that is relevant to your case, such as your name and contact information, the names of all involved parties, the types of injuries sustained, when and where the accident happened, how and why it happened and what you are seeking from the government entity. Once this notice has been filed, you can proceed with filing the lawsuit.

Can I File a Claim Against Both a Person and the Government?

You may file a claim against any at-fault parties for your injuries, including individuals, businesses and government entities. However, keep in mind that you cannot double-dip when it comes time to settle. This means that if your medical bills total $10,000, you can't recover $10,000 from the government entity and another $10,000 from the individual who hit you. In cases where multiple parties are at fault, the courts often look at what percentage of the responsibility each entity had in the accident and then use that percentage to determine how much of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering that party should be held responsible for.

Your mind may be racing with questions after being injured in a car accident. However, if the city or county had any fault in the car accident, it is important that you act quickly to bring a claim against the city before the shortened statute of limitations expires. An auto accident attorney can help you determine if you have a case, who is at fault and file the case on your behalf. Contact a firm like Fonvielle, Lewis, Foote & Messer for more information.