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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 tortuous 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.

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