When Can You Sue the State of Michigan?
Generally speaking, Michigan has complete civil (tort) immunity regarding governmental functions that cause injury. But, there are some scenarios in which you’re eligible to bring a cause of action and make the government a defendant.
If the state is acting in a proprietary function – this is defined as an action that derives a profit – you can sue and name Michigan as a defendant in the lawsuit. An example of this would be a Michigan (public) hospital.
The government has an obligation to maintain public buildings that are under its control (i.e. the responsibility hasn’t been delegated to an independent contractor). Liability is limited:
- The building must be open for public use
- There must be a defective condition
- The government had constructive knowledge of the defective condition at the time of injury and
- The government failed to take action necessary to rectify the situation
Government owned vehicles are responsible for damages as a result of the negligent operation by their officers, agents and employees.
Highway safety is important. Therefore, the governmental agency responsible for the highway (that has jurisdiction) must keep the highway safe for Michigan residents and fellow commuters. This is not a broad exception to the general rule that you can’t sue the government. This is a narrowly tailored exception that only arises if conditions are met:
- The government knew or should have known about the defect in the highway
- The government had to know of the defect at least 30 days prior to the injury
- The governmental agency does not breach its duty when it fails to remove a natural accumulation of snow and ice
Goodwin & Scieszka wants to remind you that if you’ve been injured, contact our Southfield, Michigan personal injury law firm. We’re here when you need us most, and will fight for the money you deserve.
We specialize in the following cases, and many more: