Governmental immunity is an often misunderstood area of the law, especially for injured clients left without anyone to sue. ZuppkeLaw thought it would be pertinent to shed some light on this issue.
The basic premise of governmental immunity is that the government cannot be sued. However, the legislature can confer liability and entitle you sue the State of Michigan (cities, townships, villages, etc.). So you know, governmental immunity is also known as sovereign immunity.
Michigan has various immunity statutes entitling a citizen to sue the government. Let’s take a look at the defecti
ve sidewalk immunity statute, this will give you a more in depth understanding of the issue:
(3) In a civil action, a municipal corporation that has a duty to maintain a sidewalk under subsection (1) is presumed to have maintained the sidewalk in reasonable repair. This presumption may only be rebutted by evidence of facts showing that a proximate cause of the injury was 1 or both of the following:
(a) A vertical discontinuity defect of 2 inches or more in the sidewalk.
(b) A dangerous condition in the sidewalk itself of a particular character other than solely a vertical discontinuity.
(4) Whether a presumption under subsection (3) has been rebutted is a question of law for the court.
So, in order for a person to successfully sue the government, then the defect in the sidewalk has to be of a certain characteristic. The general rule is that if you trip and fall because of a small crack, then the government is not responsible for your injury. In order to prevail, either the crack has to have a 2 inch (or greater) vertical discontinuity, or there has to be other characteristics that make the sidewalk dangerous.
Let Zuppke Law Help You.
If you have a Michigan defective sidewalk claim, don’t immediately rule out the possibility of a win. Let ZuppkeLaw analyze the facts and circumstances of your particular case for free. That’s right, a free legal consultation to determine if you have a valid Michigan personal injury defective sidewalk claim.
Sometimes the government contracts 3rd parties to maintain their sidewalks. In these instances, you have someone to sue and don’t even have to make a governmental immunity argument. Contact us. Let us do the leg work. If some defective sidewalk knocked you down, our firm is here to pick you back up. Our motto is simple, winning is the only option.