law in Public Policy

The manholes are public utilities that are owned by municipals, regional authorities, or even companies which are hired to maintain them.  They are mainly used as access points to underground utility vaults for sewers, electricity, telephone storm drains and gas (Buckley, 2004).

A fall into a manhole caused by negligence is cause enough to sue.  In this case if you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that if the authority in charge of that particular network of manhole into which you fell did not properly maintain or inspect the manholes, then, you may stand a chance of winning the case.  The ‘person’ to be sued in this case would be the authority responsible for the particular public utility, for which that particular manhole is used for (Buckley, 2004).

To win, you would have to offer sufficient evidence to prove that the Authority in question had actual or constructive notice of the condition of the manhole as required by the utilities service facilities exception to governmental immunity act which provides that, “A dangerous condition of the facilities of steam, sewer water way, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and the local agency had actual notice under the circumstance of the dangerous condition at a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition”, as per sec. 8542 (b) (5) (Buckley, 2004).  Failure to prove this would result in a compulsory no suit.


Buckley, W. & Okent, C. (2004). Torts and Personal Injury Law (The west Legal studies series) New York: Clifton Park: Delmar Learning.