January 27, 2020
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When a pedestrian accident happens, there can be a lot of players involved. The pedestrian, the motorist, but what about the city? Sometimes poorly maintained sidewalks put pedestrians in harm’s way, causing serious accidents. But that doesn’t mean you will necessarily be able to sue the city for your injuries.
Governmental immunity is a general rule that says, unless a law says otherwise, a person can’t sue the government, its agencies, or employees, for injuries caused by negligence in doing government jobs. For example, if you are injured because a police car runs into you in pursuit of another vehicle you may be able to sue your auto insurance provider, and possibly even the driver causing the chase, but you generally won’t be able to sue the police officer that hit you.
When the government becomes involved in pedestrian accidents it is often because the agency responsible for maintaining local streets and sidewalks isn’t doing its job. Broken pavement, missing accessibility ramps, and other obstacles can create dangers that put pedestrians at risk.
The good news is that there is an exception to governmental immunity that allows pedestrian injury lawsuits when cities or the state allow dangerous conditions for more than a reasonable time. When government agencies fail to respond to residents’ complaints about potholes, broken pavement, and large cracks in sidewalks, injured pedestrians can get compensated for the injuries caused by those conditions.
The bad news is that governmental immunity laws can make it hard to prove the government was negligent. To win your case you and your pedestrian accident attorneys will need to prove that the city had actual notice of the particular problem that caused your injury, or that it existed for at least 30 days at the time your accident happened. Because you never know when a particular accident will happen, and attorneys don’t usually get involved right away, it can be hard to meet this requirement.
Governmental immunity can make your pedestrian injury lawsuit more complicated and can cut off one source of recovery for your injuries. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be compensated for your injuries. Contact Christensen Law for a free consultation and find out if you have a claim against the government or anyone else for your pedestrian injuries.