Suing a Municipality for Injury.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a governmental body or officers, agents or employees, you have the right to sue under sec. 893.80 of the Wisconsin Statutes. However, there are some strict notice provisions and timelines that must be followed or your claim can be barred by law. The statute also contains limitations on the amount of damages that can be recovered under Wisconsin law.
The first important rule to keep in mind is that you are required to provide written notice of your claim within 120 days after the accident or event giving rise to the claim signed by the party, agent or attorney which must be personally served on the governmental agency, volunteer fire department or governmental subdivision.
Once your claim is perfected, such as, if you were in a car accident and injured and now all of your medical treatment is completed along with receipt of all your bills, you need to “perfect the claim” by once again providing written notice of the claim to the governmental agency or department responsible for causing your accident. This also must be personally served on the governmental agency or department involved. Once the perfected claim is received, the governmental department or agency is allowed by law 120 days to respond to disallow the claim. In the event that the governmental agency provides written notice of the disallowance of the claim, it shortens the usual statute of limitations in the state of Wisconsin under sec. 893.54, from 3 three years from the date of the accident, to a shortened 6 months from the time the claim is disallowed.
Under Wisconsin law, notice of the disallowance with the limitation to file within 6 months of that time must also be provided to the claimant by the governmental agency involved. If no such formal disallowance of the claim is received, after 120 days after receipt of the “perfected claim” it is deemed disallowed by law. However, without the proper notice of the disallowance, as indicated above being sent to the injured claimant, the statute of limitations remains the 3 year ordinary sec. 893.54 rule.
Under sec. 893.80 (3) WI. Stats., damages are limited to $50,000 and if against a volunteer fire company, the limit is $25,000. Punitive damages also are not allowed or recoverable under this section of the statute.
Since the rules and limitations under sec. 893.80 WI. Stats., for suing a municipality are quite complex, if you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a governmental employee or agent, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure your case is properly protected and noticed, to the proper governmental agency. Failure to do so by strictly following all of the rules and statutory guidelines, could mean that your claim could be denied and you could wind up with nothing for what happened to you.
Pursuing a claim against a municipality or other governmental entity is fraught with complex and rigid statute of limitations rules. It is best to hire a personal injury lawyer to assist in your claim. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we offer 34 years of experience in handling thousands of injury claims over the years. Call today for a free consultation.