When a person is injured by another party that behaved negligently, they can pursue them for personal injury damages. Typically, the other party is a business or person that caused a person’s injuries. However, what happens when someone sustains injuries caused by the negligence of the Texas government or someone acting on its behalf? Read more to find out more about the possibilities of making a personal injury claim against the Texas government.
Sovereign Immunity & the Texas Tort Claims Act
For decades, Texas tort law was guided by a legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity. This doctrine originated from the earliest days of American law and was influenced by the nation’s relationship to England’s legal system. In short, sovereign immunity states that a land’s ruler cannot be sued. So, survivors of accidents caused by Texas officials had limited options for recovery if any at all.
Then, in 1969, the state passed the Texas Tort Claims Act. This law modified the rules of sovereign immunity and gave those suffering from personal injuries a chance to sue the Texas government for damages. However, the law has requirements that a person must fulfill to have the ability to file a lawsuit against the government. Essentially, the Texas Tort Claims Act makes suing the government possible only for incidents involving motor vehicles operated by government officials or for accidents on government-owned land.
The Texas Tort Claims Act requires the following for the government to be liable:
- The party had to be acting within their scope of employment when the accident occurred.
- The property damage, injuries, or death occurred when the party was operating a motor vehicle.
- The party would be liable for the accident if they weren’t working as a government agent.
The Texas Tort Claims Act also allows the government to be sued for premises liability claims. However, this is only allowed if the injury or death occurred on government property, and if a person would be liable for the same incident under Texas law.
The Statute of Limitations for Suing the Texas Government Is Considerably Short
Typically, a person in Texas has two years from the date of their injury to file a personal claim against a non-governmental entity. However, this time limit is much shorter when someone wants to seek damages from the Texas government. The Texas Tort Claims Act requires claimants to notify the proper section of the government of their intentions within six months from the day of the accident.
This notice must include the following:
- The date of the accident
- Where the accident occurred
- The injuries or damages the accident caused
- A description of what happened
In some instances, municipal governments have shorter time limits for providing notice of a claim. Some cities such as Houston place a 90-day limit while other cities like Austin place a time limit of 45 days. Even if you aren't sure if your case has passed that statute of limitations, you should contact Arnold & Itkin as soon as possible to speak with an attorney who can help you.
Call Arnold & Itkin LLP for Help with Your Personal Injury Claim Today
If you’ve been injured because of the negligence of an official of the Texas government, help is available. Since there are specific limitations and requirements for filing a personal injury claim against a unit of the government, you need help from an experienced law firm.
Arnold & Itkin LLP has a reputation for standing up against some of the highest-profile entities in the nation, and we’re not afraid to hold the government accountable for negligence. Our commitment to obtaining results has resulted in the recovery of billions of dollars for clients. We’re ready to hear your story, advise you on your next steps, and help you meet the specific requirements laid out by the Texas Tort Claims Act.
Call Arnold & Itkin today at (888) 493-1629 for help with a personal injury claim against the government. A consultation with our team is free of charge.