Can You Sue the City for Your Car Accident If the Roads Are Poorly Maintained?


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You may be able to sue the city if the roads are poorly maintained or if your car accident was due to a poorly maintained street and you were injured because of it. If the road is so obstructed by ice or snow that it causes a dangerous situation, they can be liable for your damages. However, in order to win such a lawsuit, you will need proof that the city knew about this problem before your accident happened and failed to fix it. Lawsuits against the city for poorly maintained roads are treated differently than lawsuits against an individual.

Before you can sue for damages, you must show that there was a breach in the duty of care on the part of the municipality or city. You must be able to show that the city had a responsibility to make sure that the road was in its best condition, and they failed to do so. This is not just any ordinary negligence case but one that is much more complex and takes expert testimony. Many people are not even aware that they can file a lawsuit against the city for their car accidents. While it seems as though it would be simpler, it is also more complicated than suing a private individual.

Who is Responsible for Road Maintenance?

If a municipality has accepted responsibility for the maintenance of a road or street that has been dedicated by a homeowner, then it should be maintained in the same condition as it was when the city took over. If there is an obvious problem with that road, such as potholes, then the city should act quickly to repair them so as not to cause injury to those who use that road. However, if they do not want to fix the problem, then they are responsible for keeping the road in good shape. Once the problem has been fixed by a private citizen, or when a city highway department is able to fix it, then that road is no longer in the municipality’s hands.

In some cases, a city may have designated a particular street to be a “city only” street. This is an example of the municipality becoming the owner of the street. Once a city has accepted that responsibility, it should maintain that road in the same condition as it was when it took over from its previous owner or users. However, if the city does not maintain this road, then you can sue them for damages.

Proving Government Negligence:

If a city is found liable for damages in a road maintenance case, then you must be able to show proof of their negligence. You will need to prove that the city knew about the problem and failed to fix it. For example, if you were involved in a serious car accident because of poor road conditions due to ice and snow, then you can sue them for damages. However, if you are given a citation for careless driving or speeding, then you must show proof that the city knew about your actions and failed to fix the road.

If you were injured on a street that has been designated by a municipality as a city-only street, then you will have to prove that the municipality knew about this problem and took no action to get it fixed. If they did not act to fix it, then they may be liable for your damages.

Comparative Negligence:

If the city is found to have been negligent in failing to maintain the road, then you will also need to show that their negligence was not only bad but significantly worse than negligence from a private citizen. You will need to prove that they knew about the problem and ignored it. The city’s negligence must be so much greater than that of the average private citizen for them to be liable for your injuries.

If the city is found to be more responsible for the poor road conditions than a private citizen, then you can likely win a lawsuit. However, it is not as simple as just showing that the city was negligent and should have known about the problem with your road. The evidence that you will need to show is much more complicated than most people would think. You will need to prove that the municipality was negligent in their maintenance of this particular street and not just negligent about general road maintenance.

Understanding the Claim Process Against a Governmental Entity:

Even though you are suing the city for your accident and injuries, you must go through the same type of process that you would with a private individual. You will need to file your claim within two years of the accident and have it heard by a jury. The jury will decide how much money you should be awarded and can even assess claims against other parties if they feel that they are at fault. However, it is much harder to prove the city’s negligence, which could make winning this type of lawsuit more difficult.

The city’s main defence is that they did not know about the poor road conditions before your accident. It is possible to show that they knew about the problem and failed to act, especially if you were driving a different type of vehicle than the one they are familiar with.


If the city is found liable for your injuries, then they will be forced to pay for your damages and can even be assessed penalties if they were deemed to have been negligent. However, it is not easy to prove them liable for all of your damages. If you were injured on a road that has been designated as a “city only” road, then you will likely have a much easier time proving that they knew about the problem and were negligent in making sure that it was fixed.