Personal Injury Claims Against the City of Milwaukee*

It’s no fun having a car accident, but being hit by a city bus or a police car makes claiming compensation that much harder. Normally, if an injury is caused by anyone who is not working for a government, then there is a possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Even then, success depends on how reliable the proof of negligence is. Claims against any government entity in the U.S., including Milwaukee, are particularly difficult as each entity protects itself with “sovereign immunity”, a concept originally designed to protect royalty in England. Fortunately, genuine car accidents caused by negligent actions by government employees may be acceptable. Talk to a personal injury attorney before submitting a claim.

Mikwaukee City and Wisconsin State Laws Regarding Government Personal Injury Claims

Claims against the city and the state government are possible in limited circumstances. Car accidents that have caused injury to private individuals and premises liability injuries are accepted as reasons for claims as long as proof of negligence is provided and time limits are adhered to.

You must submit an initial notice of claim to the relevant authority. Forms with instructions are available on the individual government websites.

Claims against Wisconsin’s state government, for example, should be addressed to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The city has a similar page on its own website where a form can be downloaded. The tine limit for notices of claim is 120 days from the date of the injury.

A notice of claim is only a preliminary notice of an intent to make a claim. In most cases, it will be rejected by the relevant government entity. This is not the end of the claims process as a rejection allows you, as a plaintiff, to file a personal injury lawsuit against whoever in the government was at fault, except not against any specific individual employee. A personal injury lawsuit must be filed within 3 years of the injury. Medical malpractice claims also must be filed within 3 years, or 1 year of an injury or harm has been discovered.

PI claims in the state are capped at $200,000 and do not allow punitive damages to be paid.

Reasons for a Car Crash Where the City is at Fault

Every city department has a number of vehicles at its disposal. There may be only one, or a fleet of a dozen or more. There is also the regional transportation system with its large fleet of buses. There is always a possibility that you could be hit by a driver of any one of these vehicles. Apart from a direct collision with a government owned vehicle, there is also the possibility that your own car was the victim of poor road construction or surface maintenance. Less common reasons for accidents in or around the city include impacts from falling debris from a government-owned property, such as an office building or bridge.

Accidents Involving an MCTS Bus

Because of the number of buses compared to any other government owned or leased vehicles, the likelihood of having an accident is higher with a city bus than any other vehicle. Here's a little more information on what you can do if you were hit by a bus.

Accidents don’t just happen. There is always a reason. As negligence on the part of the city must be a factor in an injury for a claim to be possible, the reasons for a bus crash must be known. Driver error is probably the most common factor in a bus crash, with poor bus maintenance and defective parts less common, but still very real potential factors.

Bus driver error includes distracted driving, failure to adhere to traffic rules, including a failure to signal, speeding, fatigue and intoxication.

It’s Best to Use an Attorney to Help You With a Claim Against the City

It would probably be very difficult to tackle a claim against a city entity all by yourself unless you had a legal background. It would not be sensible to waste the opportunity of making a claim without proper legal advice and help, as a mistake might just lead to your claim being rejected altogether. You are strongly advised to use an experienced personal injury attorney in any claim for compensation against the city or the state government.


The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against the city of Milwaukee, or the state government of Wisconsin, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.