Can I sue the city for being shot on city streets?

There has been 5 shootings within 4 months, killing 2 young man and seriously hurting 8 others. I just so happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and was shot in the face. May I sue the city/state for not making us away of the gang violence/dangers people running around with AK47s?

Asked on November 6, 2011 under Personal Injury, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The chances of filing a lawsuit against a city/state for the acts of another are not very strong.  Government agencies have what is referred to as governmental immunity.  To pierce the immunity protection, you usually have to show a specific act or knowledge beyond general negligence.  If by chance you can get beyond the immunity issue, you still have to show causation.  So many factors go into a cycle of crime, it's hard to pin liability on someone beyond the actual criminal who pulled the trigger.  The city can point liability in the direction of several other actors involved in the criminal justice system, for example:  the judge that put the criminal on probation instead of sentencing him/her to prison, the parole or probation officer that refused to revoke the criminal after he tested positive multiple times while on parole/probation, or the legislature that created a loophole through deferred adjudications to allow some criminals to still possess firearms.  The list is really unending.  This is not to say you don't have a chance at suing the city, only that it's somewhat slim.  Some other avenues may include actively complaining to the city council or your state representative.  If you would like to get a more specific assessment of the chances of suing the city/state, visit with a personal injury attorney that has had experience in dealing with governmental entities.

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