CanI sue the city for damages ifI crashed into an unmarked sink hole caused by a ruptured city water main?

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CanI sue the city for damages ifI crashed into an unmarked sink hole caused by a ruptured city water main?

It had been raining a lot and there was water on the road. The city knew of the problem and previously had it coned off, then decided that it wasn’t its responsibility. The neighbors in the area told me that the city took down the cones and left.

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer is that you *may* be able to sue the city. Municipalities are not generally responsible for road conditions unless they had notice of the problem--though since you indicate that the city did know, that should not be an issue. An issue may be whether the city is the right entity to sue--could this possibly be  a country or state road? If it was, then those entities would be the party(ies) to sue--and the issue would become whether they had notice.

In any event, from what you write, you may have a viable claim against someone...however, there are strict timelines and paperwork requirements for suing any governmental unit (not surprisingly, the government makes it difficult to sue the government), so you should immediately speak with an attorney with experience in suing government bodies, to get the case started the right way, if applicable.


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