Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 24, 2020

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Most likely. The factors to look at to determine any liability of the city is what caused the hazardous condition, how long the condition existed before your accident, whether the city had taken steps to warn of the condition, and whether anything else contributed to the accident. Even if the damage was very new or your city had posted signs warning of the damage, the city may still be partially liable for your injuries depending on all the circumstances of your accident.

If you can prove that the dangerous condition was a factor in causing your accident, you may sue that government entity. However, be aware that suing a governmental entity can be significantly different than suing a private party. Determining which governmental entity actually had control of the road will be the first hurdle. Be aware that more than one entity may become involved at that stage, depending on the road.

Also, in many jurisdictions you have a relatively short period of time to file a notice that you intend to sue – sometimes a matter of a few months as opposed to the usual statute of limitations of a couple of years. This notice has to be filed before your suit can be filed.

A third problem lies in the fact that many governmental entities require being given notice of dangerous road conditions before they are held liable. You may also find that the governmental entity is claiming immunity – that it will not be held legally responsible for any damages because it is a governmental entity, or that its damages will be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs or to a specific dollar amount. However, you can still sue them for pain and suffering and other damages if you can prove that they were at fault in not keeping the road in good repair.

In this case, your best plan is to consult with a local experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to properly evaluate your case and advise you as to any difficulties in dealing with the governmental entities you will be proceeding against. Your attorney will also have experience in dealing with government insurance adjusters, who are notoriously stingy in handing out public money to settle personal injury cases. And your attorney will be well aware of any time limits that you have in your case, and will help you comply with them so you don’t lose out on any damages that you may be entitled to.