Can I sue a City, Municipality, or Township in Pennsylvania?
As a general rule, the Cities, Municipalities, and Townships have what is called "sovereign immunity" in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This means that you cannot sue the government, or its subdivisions, unless one of the following exceptions applies:
1) Vehicle Liability - if your case or claim against the government entity arises as a result of a car accident or the government's use of a vehicle, then you can bring your claim;
2) Medical-Professional Liability - Acts of health care employees of Commonwealth agency medical facilities or institutions or by a Commonwealth party who is a doctor;
3) Care, Custody or Control of Personal Property - If your claim arises from a government entity or employee taking possession of personal property;
4) Commonwealth Real estate, Highways and Sidewalks - If your claim arises out of a fall or accident occurring on roadways, highways, sidewalks, or other real property owned by the government which was negligently maintained;
5) Potholes and Other Dangerous Conditions - A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition;
6) Care, Custody or Control of Animals - The care, custody or control of animals in the possession or control of a Commonwealth party, including but not limited to police dogs and horses and animals incarcerated in Commonwealth agency laboratories;
7) Liquor Store Sales - The sale of liquor at Pennsylvania liquor stores by employees of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board created by and operating under the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the "Liquor Code," if such sale is made to any minor, or to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any insane person, or to any person known as an habitual drunkard, or of known intemperate habit;
8) National Guard Activities - Claims involving acts of a member of the Pennsylvania military forces;
9) Sexual Abuse - Conduct which constitutes an offense enumerated under section 5551(7) (relating to no limitation applicable) if the injuries to the plaintiff were caused by actions or omissions of the Commonwealth party which constitute negligence.
The applicability of each of the above exceptions to the Rule against suing the government needs to be carefully examined. Even if you meet one of the above exceptions, you may be limited in your ability to file a claim or lawsuit against the Government if you do not meet other criteria (i.e., permanent injury and/or giving the Government proper notice prior to filing a lawsuit).
Only an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to successfully litigate a claim against the government. Contact me today for a free case evaluation.