Accident in Unsafe Public Property: How do I file an Injury Claim?

This is another guest post contributed by Molly Pearce.


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State and local municipalities as well as the federal government are required to maintain their properties in a safe manner so as to keep them safe and clear of hazards and obstacles. When they fail to do so, individuals may suffer severe injury or harm or death. This is why persons who are injured in any type of accident on public property may be able to recover for various kinds of damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other expenses.

Common Premises Liability Injuries

The most common types of premises liability cases usually involve slip and fall accidents in another person’s property. Other types of premises liability-related accidents include but not limited to:

1. Exposure to toxic chemicals, mold or lead
2. Accidents due to poorly maintained equipment
3. Construction/workplace accidents
4. Accidents caused by inadequate security
5. Accidents caused by poorly lit parking

Common Sites of Injury

Personal injury accidents may happen almost anywhere, but there are particular areas where such accidents commonly occur. Public property injury attorneys generally work on personal injury accidents that occurred in:

1. Subways, bus or other public transportation
2. Other government owned buildings
3. Public swimming pools
4. Broken sidewalks
5. Hospitals
6. Schools

When a personal injury accident happens in a public or government-maintained area, concerned government entities may be liable for the injuries sustained by the victim/s. For instance, when an accident happens due to the absence of traffic signs or malfunctioning traffic lights, concerned government entities may be legally liable for the injuries of the victims. Simply put, when certain government units are proven to have neglected the safety of the public, they may be liable for the accident and the injuries suffered by the victims. As it is, if you were injured as a result of a certain government agency’s negligence, you can file a personal injury claim and possibly get compensations.

Filing a Claim

The most difficult part of the process of making a claim for an injury on public property involves determining exactly who is at fault. This is why it is critical to contact a personal injury attorney, whether it’s an injury lawyer in New York or one in San Francisco, who has the resources and experience that allow him/her to evaluate these claims properly. Even though government entities have enjoyed immunity against lawsuits in the past, these privileges have been reduced substantially over the years. However, only a personal injury attorney who has experience with governmental liability cases will know how to best proceed in such instance.

Also, laws vary from state to state. Most, such as those in New York, have been modeled from the Federal Tort Claims Act, which waives sovereign immunity of the government in certain circumstances. Personal injury claims against the government and state have certain requirements that must be met. Therefore, injured parties must comply with the rules in full prior to filing any claim against liable government entities. Each state’s rules are different when it comes to these requirements as well as the information they must contain. This is why it is critical to speak with an attorney who has expert knowledge about the laws in your state. For instance, an injury in the state of New York should be handled by a New York personal injury lawyer. Otherwise, a claim for damages could easily be dismissed for a variety of reasons.

Anyone who has been injured on public property should seek medical attention, follow up on doctor visits and seek legal counseling from personal injury lawyers so that the case may be properly evaluated. It is also important to keep all details such as time, place, form and event, as well as medical condition details. This is the only way to successfully recover damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


Author, artist, and mom concerned with human rights, Molly Pearce writes to inform individuals on their legal options after being wrongfully injured. David Perecman, injury lawyer in New York for the past 25 years, is also an advocate for human rights with regards to injury and has won millions of dollars of through verdicts and settlements of cases including premises accidents like the ones Molly examines above.


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