Can I Sue a City or County for Personal Injury?

If you receive injuries caused by a city or county employee in the course of performing his or her official duties, you have the right to sue the appropriate governmental entity for personal injury.

Usually these types of lawsuits result from injuries you sustain as the result of one of the following:

  • A motor vehicle accident caused by the driver of a city or county vehicle
  • A motor vehicle accident caused by a poorly maintained city or county street or road
  • A slip, trip, or fall on property owned or operated by a city or county
  • Use of excessive force by a city law enforcement officer or a county sheriff or deputy
  • Medical malpractice occurring at a veterans’ hospital or rehabilitation facility

Applicable Local Laws

Keep in mind that each county and municipality may have its own laws, ordinances, or rules regarding the procedures you must follow when suing it for personal injury or any other reason. Consequently, you should not assume that your city’s or county’s rules mirror those of your state. 

While they have to generally comply with your state’s laws, a city or county can impose additional requirements as well, including stricter time limits in which to file your suit and the requirement that you give the city or county notice of your intent to sue ahead of actually filing your suit. You would, therefore, do well to check your city’s ordinances and your county’s codes before attempting to file suit against either of them.

Possible Damages

In general, you can ask for the same types of damages when you sue a city or county for personal injury that you ask for when suing an individual. This means that your suit likely can include claims for economic damages, noneconomic damages, and, if called for, punitive damages.

The city or county may, however, set a limit, called a “cap,” on the amount of each type of damages you can receive. This is especially true where punitive damages are concerned. In some counties and cities, you can’t recover punitive damages at all.

Getting Trusted Legal Advice

Your wisest course of action after suffering injuries caused by a city or county employee or contract worker is to consult a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Saavedra Law Firm, PLC, as soon as possible after the accident. You would do well to choose an attorney with a proven track record of handling cases against cities and counties, especially the one you intend to sue.