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Slip and Fall Lawyer FAQ: Can I Sue the City for a Slip and Fall?

Posted February 21, 2019 | Slip and Fall

Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer

If you have slipped and fallen on a sidewalk, public street, or in a public area, you may be wonder whether or not you can sue the city for your sustained injuries. In order to hold the city liable for a slip and fall, negligence must be a factor. In general, most cities will be responsible for maintaining public areas including sidewalks and streets; however, there are two limitations that you might face when trying to sue the city for a slip and fall.

First, nearly all, if not all, states have very strict notice deadlines and statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. Second, nearly all states have a limit on how much money you can recover if you win your case. It should also be noted that these are complicated legal cases and not all lawyers will handle them. You should look for a personal injury lawyer who handles government cases.

When Might a City Be Liable for a Slip and Fall

In general a city, town, or otherwise government municipality can only be liable for a slip and fall on a public street or sidewalk if it can be proven that the entity was negligent and the negligence was the cause of the accident. Just because you fell on the sidewalk does not mean you can sue the city. Furthermore, a slippery condition also does not mean you can file a lawsuit in the event of a slip and fall. The public area, sidewalk, or street would have to be unreasonably safe. If this is thought to be true, it would be up to you, or your attorney, to prove the city was negligence. This may be done when by demonstrating the city knew, or should have known, about the potential hazard, but did not do anything to address it.

When Ice, Sleet, or Snow is A Factor

A large majority of slip and falls in a city are due to ice and snow, as well as broken streets or sidewalks. Rarely is a city responsible for clearing away snow or ice that is in front of a private residence or commercial building. Rather it is usually their duty to take care of snow or ice in front of public areas or on public streets and sidewalks. Therefore, if you slipped and fell in front of a commercial building, you would most likely have to file a lawsuit against the building owner.

Time and Notice Deadlines

If you think you might have a lawsuit against the city, you should know that there are very strict deadlines. These vary from state to state, but may include:

  • As little as 30 days to inform the city, known as a notice, about the accident and its circumstances
  • Between 30 and 60 days to notify the city that you are filing a lawsuit
  • Between 60 and 180 days to file a lawsuit

Depending on the state, if you file your notice with the wrong department, you might be barred from filing a lawsuit. Moreover, your claim should be made against the right entity. Failure to do this could also result in a barring from filing a lawsuit. Finally, most states have limits on the amount of damages you can recover. This may vary from $10,000 to $100,000. To ensure you satisfy your state’s strict requirements, you should consult a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer.

Contact Wieand Law Firm, LLC for their insight into personal injury claims and suing a city for a slip and fall accident injury.