You can sue the City of Atlanta for a car accident in some situations, but you need to know how the rules are different in these claims.
Suing the government is not the same as suing a private individual. You have much less time to take legal action if you plan to sue the City of Atlanta. You will have to go through a different procedure before you can file a lawsuit. If you try to skip the administrative process, it could cost you your entire claim.
The Procedure Is Different When Suing the Government
If you want to sue or make a claim for money damages against the City of Atlanta for injuries to your person or your property, you have to follow the rules. Your first step is to give proper notice to the City within six months of injury, as required by O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5. You will need to use the City Claim form when you give notice.
After you submit your claim for damages to the City of Atlanta, the City will:
- Evaluate your claim
- Investigate your request for money damages
- Make a recommendation to settle or deny the claim
If you do not go through this administrative process, Georgia law will not allow you to take the City of Atlanta to court for your injuries.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Comparing Deadlines in Typical Accident Cases and When Suing the City of Atlanta
Georgia law in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 gives you two years to file a lawsuit against private individuals and companies if you get hurt due to someone else’s negligence. However, if you fail to notify the City, the court could dismiss your case. Filing within the two-year time frame would not save your claim against the City. You could still sue other negligent parties, though.
What You Must Include in the Six-Month Notice of Claim to the City of Atlanta
The six-month notice of a claim for money damages against the City of Atlanta must include this information:
- The time and place of the injury
- The extent of the injury
- The negligence that caused the injury
- The specific amount of monetary damages sought from the City of Atlanta
The claim form also requires the claimant to submit:
- Copies of medical records and bills
- Police reports
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Pictures of your injuries
- Other documentation that supports your claim for money damages
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You Must Prove the Elements of Negligence Exist in Your Car Accident Case
It is insufficient to merely allege that the City of Atlanta was negligent. If we file a claim against the City of Atlanta for personal injuries from a car accident, we would have to be able to prove all four of these elements:
- Duty of care: The City of Atlanta must have had a legal obligation, like maintaining traffic signals at intersections.
- Breach of duty: We will have to show that the City of Atlanta failed to satisfy its legal duty. Let’s say that the traffic signals at a busy intersection malfunctioned, with traffic from multiple directions having the green light simultaneously. The City knew about this issue and failed to promptly correct it. Failing to meet a legal duty of care is negligence.
- Causation: The City’s negligence must be the thing that caused the accident that injured you. If the malfunctioning traffic signals caused a collision that hurt you, that fact pattern would satisfy the causation requirement.
- Damages: The final element of negligence is the requirement that you suffered losses from the accident. Physical injuries satisfy this factor.
When we can prove all four of these elements, we can pursue a claim against the City of Atlanta for your personal injuries. If the City refuses to pay you a fair amount for your losses through the administrative claim process, you can file a lawsuit in court.
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Turn to Kaine Law for Support in Suing the City of Atlanta After a Car Accident
Lawsuits against the government are tricky. You will want to work with a law firm that handles these specialized claims. Also, you will want to talk with a car accident lawyer right away, so you do not miss the six-month deadline. It takes some time to put together a claim and documentation.
At Kaine Law, we are happy to offer a free initial consultation on personal injury cases that involve the City of Atlanta or other defendants. You can call us today at (404) 214-2001 to get started. There is no obligation, and it costs nothing upfront to sue.