Can You Really Sue City Hall?

Posted on: 20 July 2019


It's a well-known myth that citizens are somehow prevented from taking legal action against the government. Although those seeking damages do have some extra concerns to be aware of, any citizen can take action against the federal, state, county, or city government if they have been wronged. If you have a beef against the government, it's vital that you speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Otherwise, your case might go nowhere fast if it doesn't meet the requirements. To find out about a few issues that make government lawsuits unique, read on.

Less Time to Take Action

When you are harmed by the actions of another, you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. Just like car accidents, slip-and-falls cases, and dog bites, you must understand and abide by the statute of limitations when suing the government. In some cases, the statutes are very different and quite a bit shorter for government cases, so don't waste a minute before speaking to an attorney so that you can get the ball rolling. The clock begins to tick upon the injury, not when you see an attorney.

Blocks on Lawsuits

Unfortunately, governments have immunity against being held responsible for certain types of cases. They are often exempt from legal actions involving harm by anything that is not directly connected to the governmental entity. For example, you cannot sue the county health department if you are sickened after eating in a restaurant that had passing health inspections. If you can prove the health department took bribes to overlook health and safety conditions in the kitchen, however, that is another matter. While not impossible to sue the government over some forms of harm, there is a greater burden to prove that they knew about the problem and failed to act.

Notice of Claim

Finally, there are regulations in place to give governmental entities more advance notice when they are about to be sued. The rules vary by location and other details, but the government has the right to be informed via certified mail of the intention to file a lawsuit and why. These notices can be as extensive as the eventual lawsuit petition and contain much of the same information. That means the case should be ready to file before the notice is sent.

Suing the government takes more steps and you might have less time to take action. Speak to an attorney to find out more about your particular case.