If you’re planning on suing the City of Chicago, there are a few things you should know. First, you’ll need to have a strong case. You’ll also need to be prepared to deal with a complicated process filled with a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy.
Finally, you should be aware that the city has deep pockets and will likely fight hard to avoid paying any damages, so having an experienced law firm on your side can be critical for your success.
With that said, there are times when suing the city is the only option. For example, if you’ve been injured from a fall on a defective and uneven sidewalk, you may be able to sue the local government for damages.
If you do decide to sue the City of Chicago, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Ordinarily, government entities like the City of Chicago, parks, and public agencies are immune from being sued for negligence under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.
The purpose of the Tort Immunity Act is to protect a government agency and government employee from liability arising from the operation of the city government. It was enacted in 1965 as a result of the Illinois Supreme Court ruling to abolish common law sovereign immunity.
Sovereign Immunity Examples
Generally, municipalities and officials receive absolute or “sovereign immunity” from:
“discretionary acts”—decisions based on an individual’s discretion
failure to adopt a law
failure to implement or enforce a law
issuing or revoking a license or permit
negligent inspection of property
negligent oversight of recreational activities
execution of enforcement of a law done willfully and maliciously
Examples of Lawsuits Against City Governments
However, a government’s immunity doesn’t cover lawsuits for injuries arising out of:
most automobile accidents involving a city vehicle, police car, or government vehicle
potholes, cracks, and other damage to sidewalks, roads, government property, and public buildings, if they had actual or constructive notice of the damage
“ministerial actions”—failing to carry out definitive rules or instructions such as a regulation, court order, or legislative code
Willful and wanton misconduct
Most medical malpractice
Whether immunity applies is heavily dependent on the facts of the case. We can help you navigate governmental immunity to develop a theory of the case and circumvent defenses the defendants might raise for your injury claim.
Call today for a free case evaluation before you consider suing a city or state government.
What do I need to prove?
Unlike ordinary personal injury cases involving negligence, plaintiffs must show that a municipality acted willfully and wantonly. Illinois law defines willful and wanton conduct as “a course of action which shows an actual or deliberate intention to cause harm or which, if not intentional, shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others or their property.”
However, most automobile accident cases (such as collisions involving garbage trucks and most nonemergency vehicles) and medical malpractice claims (such as claims against Stroger Hospital or Rush University) can be filed under an ordinary negligence standard.
What You Must Show
To prove negligence, you must show that:
The municipality owed you a duty of care; and
The municipality breached that duty; and
The breach caused your injuries.
What You May Be Able to Recover
For personal injury actions when you have suffered serious injuries, you can typically recover damages for pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. In some instances, your spouse may be able to file a claim for loss of consortium.
Call today for a free consultation and free case evaluation with an experienced lawyer.
What are the time limits for suing the City of Chicago?
Time limits are heavily skewed in favor of a government agency or municipality. Unlike most personal injury lawsuits, claims against municipalities must be filed within one year.
This is a strict deadline with few exceptions, so it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so you avoid waiving your right to recovery.
What about other municipalities and government organizations?
If a particular department or office is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to sue that entity along with their director. Among others, The Kryder Law Group, LLC has secured recoveries against the following Chicago government organizations:
Chicago Park District
City of Chicago Board of Education
Chicago Department of Aviation
Chicago Police Department
Chicago Office of the Mayor
Our law firm will help you identify responsible defendants and develop a theory of liability against each of them.
What are some examples of lawsuits against the City of Chicago?
Generally, you can sue the City of Chicago if they are responsible for your injury and either the City’s misconduct was willful and wanton or the City’s misconduct is not covered by governmental tort immunity.
Some common examples include:
Automobile Accidents: Most automobile accidents with city vehicles are not protected by tort immunity, so the driver and the City of Chicago may be held responsible for negligently causing your injuries. This applies to city-owned school buses, municipal vehicles, Chicago Park District vehicles, and garbage trucks.
Failure to Maintain Roads and Sidewalks: If the City of Chicago has actual or constructive notice of dangerous road conditions such as potholes, broken streetlights and street signs, and cracked sidewalks, you may hold them accountable for any injuries you suffered as a result.
Airport Accidents: Slip and fall accidents, vehicle accidents, and airplane crashes are usually not protected by tort immunity at airports such as Midway, O’Hare, and DuPage Airports.
Public Transit: If you were injured on a CTA bus or train, you may hold the CTA responsible for any injuries it negligently caused.
School Abuse and Neglect: This includes failure to prevent physical or sexual abuse, failure to follow Individual Education Plans (IEPs), bus accidents, and failure to redress known premises liability issues.
Police Brutality: While oftentimes protected by qualified immunity, police officers violate your civil rights when they engage in police brutality. You may also file suit under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.
Police Pursuits: If you are injured in a high-speed chase because police did not follow CPD police in engaging and disengaging from dangerous police pursuits, you may hold the officers accountable in court.
What can an attorney do for me?
Suing a municipality like the City of Chicago requires advanced knowledge of both the courtroom and the nuances of government tort immunity rules.
An experienced personal injury attorney from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can help. They can develop a theory of liability for your injuries and identify any responsible defendants. They can also prepare and file necessary paperwork with the court, identify critical evidence supporting your case, take and defend depositions, and consult with expert witnesses.
If necessary, they can argue your case in court before the judge and jury.
Personal Injury Case Settlements Against a Government Entity
We have successfully recovered millions against the City of Chicago and other municipalities.
Past successes include:
$3 million for family when their son was struck and killed by a garbage truck
$2 million for man when we was struck by a car as he waited for a CTA bus
$1 million for child burned in house fire
$315,000 for motorist struck by falling utility pole
Call for a Free Consultation
We offer free consultations for accident victims. Remember—you only have one year to sue the City of Chicago when a government employee caused actual injury through their negligent actions.
Contact The Kryder Law Group, LLC today to discuss your injury claim.