Roads or sidewalks can be dangerous for pedestrians or motorists when a city fails to maintain reasonable safety standards. A forgotten stop sign can send a motorist careening into oncoming traffic. Open grates can cause grievous injuries for unsuspecting pedestrians. Poorly-lighted crosswalks can result in injury or death from oncoming traffic. There are multiple ways in which personal injury claims arise against government entities.
Section 537.600 states that certain suits are valid
A plaintiff must indicate: 1. That the injury was a direct result of a dangerous condition caused by the negligent or careless omission of an employee of the public entity. The employee must have caused the dangerous condition and had sufficient notice to attend to that condition prior to the injury presented in the lawsuit. 2. That careless vehicular injury to another was caused by a public employee while on the job. 3. That negligence of safety on city, county or state property occurred. 4. That poor design or negligent maintenance of a road or sidewalk led to injury.
Pursuing a claim after being hurt on a public road or sidewalk
Claims filed against a government agency have a different procedure from claims filed against private entities or persons. In private cases, a notification is made to the negligent party’s insurance company. If the insurance company denies the claim or fails to provide sufficient recompense, a lawsuit can be filed. Claims against the government or city proceed as follows:
- A notice in writing must be sent to the city mayor within 90 days of the incident. Missouri Law, Section 82.210 RSMo, states that a city with 100,000 residents must be given a 90-day notice for any defects of boulevard, street, sidewalk, bridge or thoroughfare. This 90-day ordinance is strictly enforced and the claim will be dismissed if filed earlier than 90 days.
- The notice must include the place where the injury occurred, the time that it occurred, a description of the injury and the circumstances pertaining to it. The name and address of medical providers is advised. The notice must include notification of a claim being made against the city.
Response from the government entity to claims of being hurt on a public road or sidewalk
If the city or state denies the claim after the 90 days have expired, you have six months to file a lawsuit. Filing periods differ from state to state, so refer to your state government’s website for information and consult with an attorney.
Contact a lawyer
It is very difficult to know what happens next when you are injured and feel you have a claim against a governmental agency. If you or someone you know has been injured through perceived negligence on public property or by a government entity, the advice of an attorney is vitally important. All aspects of the claim need to be examined immediately so that you are aware of special provisions that may attach to the claim. Failure to follow proper requirements may make your claim invalid. A personal injury law firm focuses on individual needs, understanding that someone who is injured is at a serious disadvantage. One small failure in the obligations of public employees to provide for the safety of citizens can have very damaging ramifications. Like anyone else, the government can be held liable for the cause of your injuries.