June 22, 2023
Can You Sue the City for Your Injuries?
By Jonathan Damashek
You could sue for compensation if a person or business causes your injuries. What happens when a government entity is to blame? Can you sue a city for injuries when they are negligent? The answer is yes. However, there are details you must know before filing a lawsuit against the government.
Yes, You Can Sue NYC for Personal Injuries
A city could be held liable for injuries through a personal injury lawsuit and other types of civil cases. However, the process of suing a city is different. In some ways, a lawsuit against a city is more complicated than suiting an individual or private organization.
When Can You Sue the City?
There are many situations where you might need to sue the city due to negligence of its employees or illegal policies. Anytime a city government or employee commits a wrongful act (also called a tort) that causes harm, they can be sued for resulting damages.
Some examples of situations where a city might be sued include:
- When a government vehicle causes a crash or hits a pedestrian
- If you slip and fall on government property
- If you were attacked or otherwise harmed because government security was inadequate
- You were harmed due to medical malpractice at a city hospital
- You were hurt by a doctor from a government department (Veterans’ Affairs, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.)
- You are injured while driving or walking near a city construction project
- You have a car accident on a poorly designed public roadway
- The city failed to maintain a public roadway, resulting in harm
- Excessive force used by a city police officer
Negligent Driving by City Employees
One of the most common causes of city liability is negligent driving by city employees. That means a city employee drives unsafely and causes a crash, resulting in injuries to another person. Some government vehicles that might cause injuries to others include the following:
- Police cars
- City buses
- Construction vehicles
- School buses
- Parks and recreation trucks
- Public works vehicles
Another common situation in which a city is responsible for personal injuries includes circumstances that result in premises liability. Premises liability is a legal theory indicating that the property owner is responsible for maintaining it and keeping visitors safe. If you are legally on public property, such as a park or city building, and you are hurt, the city may be accountable under a theory of premises liability.
You Only Have a Limited Time to File
The most significant difference between lawsuits against a city and one against a private individual is the time you must file a claim. If you are injured in New York City, you must notify the appropriate city agency that caused your injuries within 90 days of the accident. If you don’t file a claim within this time limit, you may forfeit your right to get compensation from the city.
Process for Filing a Personal Injury Claim against New York City
The first step in filing a personal injury claim against New York City is to notify the appropriate agency that caused your injuries. You can do this by filing a claim in the following ways:
- Electronically through the New York City eClaim system
- Via personal delivery
- Via certified or registered mail
The city either accepts your claim and pays your damages, offers you a settlement (which will have to be negotiated), or denies your claim.
It is rare for the city to accept all asserted damages and pay you what you ask. You must work with a skilled legal negotiator to get a settlement outcome that covers all your damages. If the city denies your claim, you may have to file a lawsuit in court against the city.
How Can a Lawyer Help You in a Claim Against the City?
Whether you have to negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit against the city, you need a personal injury attorney on your side. The city will have a team of powerful lawyers on their side to fight back against your claim. They will use any evidence possible to prove you are at fault or they aren’t liable for your injuries.
Your attorney could help you conduct a thorough investigation and collect information to support your claim. Then, your personal injury lawyer could draft necessary legal documents and attend any necessary court hearings on your behalf.
Get the Compensation You Deserve from the City
New York City will likely avoid paying you what you deserve when they are responsible for your injuries. The law firm of Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. will listen to your story and develop a strategic plan to achieve your goals.