Generally, after an accident caused by another individual, you might be able to file a personal injury claim to collect compensation for damages. However, when the at-fault party is a governmental unit, things get a bit trickier because specific rules apply. Although it is possible to sue the state or a city, there are limited circumstances when this can happen.
The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity protects American governments from being sued by its citizens after accidents caused by one of its agencies or employees. That means if you or a loved one was harmed because of the negligence of a governmental unit, you would not be able to recover money from the city or state to pay for medical bills or repair costs. That is unless the government waives its right to sovereign immunity.
Texas Tort Claims Act
Lawmakers passed the Texas Tort Claims Act that allows a limited waiver of immunity for accidents caused by government agencies or employees.
A private citizen could pursue a lawsuit against the state or a city if:
- Property damage, personal injury, or death resulted from a car accident that the government employee would otherwise be personally responsible for under state law
- Personal injury or death was caused by the use of personal or real property, and the government agency would be liable if it were a private citizen
If the accident was caused by a government employee’s negligence or omission, they must have been carrying out business for the agency they worked for to bring a lawsuit against their employer.
Also, the government cannot be held liable for accidents that happen during proprietary functions, such as events that a municipality holds for its residents.
Notice to Sue
If you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a government employee and you wish to initiate a claim, you must submit notice to the agency within 6 months of the incident.
You must include:
- Information about the damage or injury sustained
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- A description about the incident
The notice does not begin the lawsuit process; instead, it lets the government know that you will be making a claim against it.
Request a Free Case Review with Rodriguez & Gimbert
The laws concerning the process for initiating a suit against the government are diverse. Various exceptions and rules exist that limit your ability to take legal action, which is why it is imperative to seek legal help from a skilled attorney. Our team is ready to guide you through the complicated process. Together, we have 45 years of experience, and we know how to handle these types of matters. We will work closely with you to determine if the government could be held liable in your particular circumstances.
Our lawyers are ready to help seek compensation for damages you incurred after an accident. Call us at (979) 559-3599 or contact us online today!