There was a point in time when “individuals could not recover damages from state or local governmental units for [the] injuries [they sustained] resulting from the actions of a government employee or officer in the performance of a governmental function” [Source: Texas Municipal League]. This meant that if a fire truck that was rushing to a call rear-ended a vehicle and injured the occupants inside, those victims wouldn’t be permitted to recover damages from that government entity. If an ambulance truck sped through a red light in an attempt to render aid to a person in need and struck and killed a pedestrian in the process, that government entity wouldn’t face a day in court for their death.
While it is true that a government entity could once walk away from liability, which means they would claim sovereign immunity, the laws have since changed. In 1969, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Tort Claims Act which “waived sovereign immunity for a governmental entity that was engaged in a governmental function.” Now, that doesn’t mean the government can no longer claim sovereign immunity as it still can under certain circumstances, however, certain grounds must be met in order for an individual to take legal recourse against a government employee should they cause an accident.
According to the Texas Municipal League, a governmental unit would be liable for the following:
- Causing property damage, personal injury, and death by the “wrongful act or omission or the negligence of an employee acting within his scope of employment if:
- The property damage, personal injury, or death arose from the “operation or use of a motor-driven vehicle or motor-driven equipment; and
- Causing personal injury or death to someone that was brought on by a “condition or 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.”
If a firefighter or ambulance truck driver that operates under the government caused an accident and I have viable grounds to file a claim, am I limited to a certain amount I can collect?
Yes, you are. The Texas Tort Claims Act limits the monetary damages to $250,000 for each person and $500,000 for each single occurrence for bodily injury or death. If no injury or death arose as a result of the driver’s negligence but your property sustained damage, you would be limited to collecting $100,000 for each single occurrence for injury to or destruction of property.
Do I need a TX truck accident lawyer to help me file a claim against the government?
It is always a good idea to retain a Tyler, TX truck crash attorney after engaging in an accident with a government worker as the process to file your claim differs from the process you would follow had you been involved in a wreck with a civilian. You see, the government limits the amount of time you have to take legal action significantly and you will, of course, have to supply proof as to why you should be awarded damages before the government entity will pay your claim.
Therefore, not only will a truck accident attorney help you understand the laws as well as the process you must follow, but they can also increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome in your case. So, if you were recently involved in an accident in Tyler, TX with a government employee who was operating a large truck and are ready to speak with a lawyer, contact Cooper Law Firm today.
The team of knowledgeable and compassionate accident lawyers at this firm are ready to provide you with the information you are seeking and help you recover the funds you need and deserve so you can spend more time focusing on recovering.
You can reach the Cooper Law Firm at:
501 N. Third Street
Longview, TX 75601