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Can I sue the government for an injury? All about the Texas Tort Claims Act.

Oct 30, 2012 - Personal Injury by

Most Texans would be surprised to learn that the law in Texas is that the government can do no wrong.  Technically, the government can do wrong, but it can’t be held accountable.  This concept goes back to England when the King was the government, and the King was also presumed to be divine and the divine could do no wrong.  This doctrine is now known as governmental immunity.  In Texas, this law is known as the Texas Tort Claims Act.  It sets out the limited instances wherein the government can be held accountable for its wrongdoing.

While this law should concern a lot of Texans, what should be more concerning is that the law provides its greatest immunity in an area where the citizens deserve the greatest protection–our schools.  Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, a school district or a school employee can only be liable for injuries to a child or other citizen if that injury arises out of the operation or abuse of a motor vehicle.  The only other exception is a very narrow exception for excessive punishment of a student.  Other than these two provisions, a school district and school employees are absolutely immune under State law for any injuries caused to students or parents.

So, if a shop student loses several fingers because the electric saw he was using did not have a proper guard on it, the school is not responsible for his injuries or medical expenses.  If a student is injured on the playground because the equipment has been improperly repaired there, is no liability; or if a student is injured because the floors or building or even bleachers have been improperly maintained, there is no remedy against the school.  In each and every one of these instances where a child is injured, the school has no legal responsibility to the child or to the parents for the child’s injuries or medical expenses.

If you have been injured as a result of the negligent conduct of a government official or an employee you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney promptly.  The Texas Tort Claims Act not only limits the government’s responsibility and the damages it has to pay but also puts very short time limits on reporting a claim and strict requirements on how that claim is reported. 

If you or a loved one have been injured, contact the personal injury lawyers of Roberts & Roberts.  The call costs you nothing, it can mean everything.

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