Sometimes premises liability accidents happen on public property, which is owned and maintained by a government body, such as the City of Philadelphia. Government entities generally have immunity from lawsuits because they are not in business to make a profit, and if large lawsuit awards are common, little money would be left for public investment.

However, it would also be unfair if a pedestrian trips and falls on a damaged sidewalk or slips on a government building’s icy step and is seriously injured. With that in mind, the state legislature carved out an exception that allows government entities to be held liable for damages caused by dangerous conditions on their property. When you are harmed on a city roadway or in a public building, park, or other government area, a Philadelphia public property injury lawyer knows what to do next.

Government Liability for Their Property

Premises liability is based on negligence and involves a property owner who fails to warn or repair a defect causing someone to be injured. A public property owner is a government body. If a roadway is ravaged by potholes for an unreasonable amount of time, and causes catastrophic injuries to a motorcycle rider, the city may be liable if they did not take proper precautions. However, when suing government bodies for public property injuries, additional laws apply, and the burden falls on the injured party to comply with them. A Philadelphia public property injury attorney guides people through the additional obstacles so they do not miss out on compensation.

Notice of a Dangerous Condition

Prospective plaintiffs must submit two kinds of notice to the City of Philadelphia when trying to recover for a personal injury on city (or any government) property. The first notice establishes that a dangerous condition existed, it was foreseeable that it would cause injuries, and the city had actual or constructive knowledge about the condition but did not remedy it in a reasonable amount of time.

Actual knowledge exists as an issue the city knows about. Constructive knowledge is an issue the city should reasonably be expected to know about. In the case of the pothole that injured the motorcyclist, the city road crews may have had numerous complaints about it, or several accidents have made them aware. If the pothole has been there a long time, the city should have constructive knowledge because it would be reasonable that the road crew would know about it.

Notice That a Claim is Pending

The second notice a prospective plaintiff must give the city is to disclose a claim is forthcoming. Unlike the Statute of Limitations with private citizens or businesses, injured parties have only six months to give notice to the city that a claim is being instigated. Failing to notify the city means the claim will forever be barred. A public property liability lawyer in Philadelphia could help the plaintiff meet all relevant filing deadlines.

Limitations on Damages

According to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 8553(c)(2), a claimant must spend at least $1,500 on medical care and suffer permanent damage to collect medical bill payments, lost wages, and other emotional losses. This includes loss of limbs, permanent disfigurement, paralysis, or loss of the use of a body function.

Topping that requirement is the cap on the amount of compensation that can be recovered from a government body. Under 42 Pa. C.S.A. 8553 (b), the state limits damages awards for personal injury and wrongful death to $500,000.

Call a Philadelphia Public Property Injury Attorney to Take on the Government

Government entities generally have immunity from lawsuits filed by citizens. However, there is an exception if someone is injured on government property that should have been addressed.

You must take additional steps to prevail in a claim against a government body. Your injuries must be serious, and there are notice requirements which are not applicable to other personal injury claims against private parties. Let a Philadelphia public property injury lawyer assess your case and learn why so many people have entrusted their claim to the Marrone Law Firm.