How to Sue the City and What to Expect
We always hear about plaintiffs suing an individual or business, but there are also cases where a plaintiff may sue a city or municipality. Yes, suing the city does happen in real life and these generally involve personal injury lawsuits and other types of civil suits.
In this article, we will explore some of the scenarios when suing a city may be possible, explore the scenarios of what to expect, and look at the specifics of filing a lawsuit using .
Reasons to Sue the City
Similar to most civil lawsuits, you may be able to sue the city or municipality when you have substantial legal grounds. Some of these reasons to sue include the city government or an employee committing tortious acts that may harm you and cause financial damages. The table below outlines some examples:
|Personal injury||When you got hit by a government-owned vehicle such as a police car, a public works vehicle, a public school bus, or others|
|When you slip and fall because a city hall custodian failed to put up a ‘wet floor’ sign or warn you of slippery conditions|
|Harassment||When you were physically or sexually harassed by a government employee|
|Medical malpractice||When you were misdiagnosed by doctors partnering with Medicare or doctors from the Veterans’ Affairs office|
Suing the City for Personal Injury
Suing the city for certain types of personal injury incidents is very much possible. Examples of incidents that render the city liable include being involved in a vehicular accident where the at-fault vehicle is a city vehicle or slipping on a city sidewalk that was already predetermined to be hazardous. If your case becomes a lawsuit, you may need to prove that the city's negligence has a direct cause on your injury. To do this, there are four elements that you must prove:
- The city has a duty of care or responsibility to keep you safe
- Breach of the duty of care
- Breach of duty of care directly caused the injury
- Evidence of injury and losses that you incurred
Suing the City for Harassment
Harassment claims against the city government or the government employees are usually based on the unfair and extreme treatment of a person due to his or her race, gender, disability, or age, which results in physical injury or emotional distress. Some examples of these include discriminatory treatment by law enforcement authorities, unjust arrests, excessive use of force by police officers, or an agency refusing to entertain or give credit to a valid complaint. To prove that a city agency harassed you, you need substantial evidence such as:
- A detailed and written description of the circumstances
- Testimonies from witnesses who observed the harassment
- Photographs or videos taken by bystanders through their cell phones or surveillance cameras
- Medical exam report after the harassment to prove physical injuries
Defenses the City May Use
When you file a lawsuit against the city, there will be multiple factors that will affect your success in recovering financial damages. However, regardless of which state you live in, it will almost always be difficult to sue the city than it would be to sue private citizens or a business. This is because there are special legal protections in place that you need to take into consideration. Here are some of the defenses the city may use against your claim:
- Statute of limitations – Each state has a specific period during which you can file the notice of a claim for your injury. The statute of limitations will differ from state to state and could either be based on the date when the accident occurred or the date before the period when you can file the lawsuit. In any case, failure to follow the correct time frame could result in losing your case.
- Sovereign immunity – Most city agencies will defend themselves using immunity from private lawsuits. However, several exceptions can counter sovereign immunity defenses.
- Outside the limits of government capacity – The city will refuse liability if the government employee is acting outside the time or scope of his or her authority.
How to Sue the City With DoNotPay
If you have been harassed by a city employee or have suffered a personal injury due to a city government’s negligence, you may be eligible to sue for civil damages. Filing a complaint in small claims court may be the best recourse as this means you do not have to worry about expensive lawyer fees.
However, even in small claims, fighting bureaucracies and completing technical forms and demand letters can a challenge. That is where can help. To file a lawsuit at the comfort of your home, all you need to do is:
- Log in to and select the Sue Now product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including photo proof
That’s it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. A copy of your documents will be mailed to the city on your behalf!
What Other Companies DoNotPay Can Help You Sue?
Use the Sue Now product to sue in small claims court and join thousands of users who have done the same. Have another company in mind? can also help you sue: