Generally, federal, state, and local government agencies are immune from liability for damage sustained in vehicle accidents.
All U.S. states have enacted specific statutes on lawsuits involving negligent vehicle operation. Usually, a government agency is not liable for negligent vehicle operation when the vehicle is used for government purposes.
However, a government agency may be liable if a specific statute allows it. A government employee is usually not held liable for negligent vehicle operation unless it is allowed by statute. Police officers and firefighters are usually exempt from this type of liability.
States also vary as to whether a government agency may be liable for negligence because of inadequate highway design, maintenance, or repair, or even the growth of vegetation on or near a highway that might create unsafe driving conditions.
Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, you can sue a state or local government agency for losses:
- Sustained in vehicle accidents caused by governmental employees acting negligently
- Sustained due to dangerous conditions on government-owned property
- Due to inadequate road maintenance
The Texas Tort Claims Act places various caps on government liability in vehicle accident cases, depending on the government agency involved. The caps range between $100,000 and $250,000 per plaintiff, with a maximum liability limit of $500,000 per incident.
In order to sue the government in Texas for a personal injury claim, you must first submit notice of intent to file suit. That notice must be received by the applicable government agency no later than six months following the accident (although some local ordinances shorten this time period to 30 days, so it’s important to contact a Texas personal injury attorney right away if you are involved in an accident due to governmental agency negligence).
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.