Filing a Personal Injury Claim Against the City of Pittsburgh or the State of Pennsylvania

Have you been injured in a car accident? If you weren’t at fault, you may be able to claim compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This may be more difficult if the accident was caused by someone driving a government owned vehicle or because of a fault in government owned property. Making a claim in these circumstances is not impossible, but subject to stricter rules and more restricted time limits. You are advised to discuss possible compensation with a personal injury attorney before making a claim.

City and State Laws Regarding Government Personal Injury Claims

Like other municipal and state governments across the country, suing a government entity is limited by what is called ‘sovereign immunity,’ the law that implies all governments are ‘immune’ from claims made against them. In practice, the law is waived in specific circumstances where negligence can be proven. Car accidents, for example, are not in the immune category if caused by negligent driving by a city or state employee.

One of the requirements made by the city is that a notice of claim is submitted within 6 months of an injury together with sufficient details for the city authorities to investigate to determine whether they are liable.

Claims, if accepted, are capped at $200,000 for an individual and $1,000,000 for any one incident.

Possible Car Accident Causes

Most car accidents are caused by private individuals, but a significant number are due to failures by government entities. Typical reasons for a claim against a city or state agency after a car accident include:

    • poor driving by an employee of the city or state government;
    • the collapse of part of the structure of a government owned building or bridge;
    • poor road surface conditions caused by lack of sufficient maintenance;
    • collision with a bus or other public transport.

As is the case with all personal injury claims, it must be shown that negligence has occurred, that the negligence was due to failure by the city or state government to act safely, and that this act of negligence caused your injury or injuries.

Causes of Car Accidents Involving a Public Bus

PAT provides a mix of bus, light rail and funicular transport. Public transport has more recently been affected by service cutbacks and fare hikes to reduce debt.

Of all PAT services, you are more likely to get hit by a bus than any other forms of public transport.

Although bus crashes are not common, they do occur from time to time and it is you, as the occupant of a smaller vehicle, who is likely to be injured more seriously. Common causes of PAT bus accidents include:

    • mistakes made by the bus driver;
    • negligent driving by another vehicle driver causing the bus to go out of control or swerve into your path;
    • defective parts;
    • mechanical defects in the bus;

Use an Experienced Attorney if Considering Claiming Against the City

It can be difficult proving negligence in any personal injury case, but claims against a government owned entity such as PAT have added complications. Unless you have good legal skills yourself, it is advisable to seek advice from an experienced personal injury attorney before submitting a claim for compensation after an injury caused by a city or state employee or agency.


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 Pittsburgh, or the state government of Pennsylvania, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.