Can I Sue a Municipality in Texas for my Injuries?
In Texas, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against a municipality or any other government entity responsible for your injuries. However, these kinds of claims are a bit different from a regular plaintiff’s lawsuit as they are subject to special rules and procedures outlined by the Tort Claims Act.
If you are planning to sue a government entity for your injuries, it is essential that you hire an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with the Tort Claims Act. Thomas J. Henry has handled government injury lawsuits for more than 30 years.
What is the Texas Tort Claims Act?
The Texas Tort Claims Act is a set of statutes used to determine when a governmental entity may be liable for tortious conduct and regulating the process by which a claim can be brought against a governmental entity in the state of Texas.
Prior to the Texas Tort Claims Act, state and local governments held what is called “sovereign immunity.” This meant individuals were barred from recovering damages from state or local governments for injuries resulting from the negligent or reckless actions of government employees or officers performing governmental functions.
In 1969, the Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Tort Claims Act, waiving sovereign immunity for governmental entities when they are engaged in governmental function.
This established that a governmental unit in the state of Texas is liable for:
- property damage, personal injury, and death proximately caused by the wrongful act or omission or the negligence of an employee acting within his scope of employment if:
- (a) the property damage, personal injury, or death arises from the operation or use of a motor-driven vehicle or motor-driven equipment; and
- (b) the employee would be personally liable to the claimant according to Texas law; and
- personal injury and death so caused by a condition of use of tangible personal or real property if the governmental unit would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas Law.
Are Lawsuits Filed Against Government Entities More Complex than Other Personal Injury Claims?
Generally, yes. Statutes regulatory what kind of claims can be brought against a government entity and how that lawsuit must be filed are more particular than most other personal injury lawsuits. If a single procedure is overlooked or done completed in accordance to state law, your entire personal injury claim could be jeopardized.
For instance, whether your tort claim involves the state, a county, a city, or any type of governmental district, you must provide proper and timely notice of the incident. If you fail to give proper notice, you could be prevented from bringing your claim later.
Further complicating Texas tort claims is the fact that the mechanism of your injury, or how your injury occurred, could restrict you from filing a claim. This is because there are various requirements your injuries and accident must meet. For example, if the mechanism of injury was a car accident, chances are your tort can be filed, but there are other mechanisms of injury that are not included in the Texas Tort Claims Act.
Finally, you tort claims will be subject to various caps. This means, depending on the unit of government you are suing, there is a maximum amount of damages you are able to recover.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured by a Government Employee?
Because of the time constraints, unique requirements, and sheer legal complexity associated of a tort claims, it is best to hire an attorney anytime you are injured by a government employee. An experienced attorney will take immediate legal action to preserve and protect evidence of your injury. Additionally, they will begin hiring expert witnesses to help strengthen your claim to compensation.
Thomas J. Henry Law has handled tort claims filed against states, counties, and cities for more than 30 years. Our attorneys are familiar with the Texas Tort Claims Act as well as the rules and regulations your claim is subject to.
Thomas J. Henry has spent the last three decades building relationships with leading experts across all industries. Experts who could help establish your Texas tort claim include:
- Accident Investigation Experts
- FMCSA Compliance Consultants
- Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
- Accident Re-constructionists
- General Equipment Technical Expert
- Medical Doctors and Physicians
- Automotive Forensic Consultants
- Grief Counselors
- Safety Equipment Experts
If you find yourself wondering how to sue the state of Texas, or what your options are for suing a single city/county, contact Thomas J. Henry Law today for FREE case review by one of our expert municipal lawyers.