“Sovereign immunity” is the concept that “the king can do no wrong.” It is a legal principle stemming from English law that one cannot sue the government, whether it is the federal government, a state agency, a county, a parish, a city or a school district. However, both the federal government and the state government of Texas have passed laws allowing for certain lawsuits against the government for personal injury or property damage.
Houston Government Liability Lawyer
The Houston government liability lawyers at Ben Bronston & Associates will zealously represent you in your lawsuit against state, local or federal government. If you are injured in an accident with a government employee or hurt on government property, we will seek the best result possible for you.
At Ben Bronston & Associates, we are proud to represent clients in government liability claims along the I-10 corridor in Houston. Call us today at (713) 225-5236 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
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Houston Government Liability Information Center
- Sovereign Immunity in Texas
- Federal Tort Claims Acts Cases in Houston
- Texas Governmental Liability Resources
Sovereign Immunity in Texas
In Texas, the Texas Tort Claims Act, or Title 5, Chapter 101 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, lays out the law for how public entities may be sued for negligence. Texas’s sovereign immunity is narrow under the law, and a broad range of lawsuits are allowed.
Under Texas law, any state or local government may be liable for injury or property damage if the act was caused by a wrongful act, omission or negligence by a government employee acting within the scope of his or her employment, and the employee was operating a motor vehicle and the employee would be otherwise liable under Texas law. This means that if a government employee, while on the job or otherwise acting in his or her capacity as a government employee, causes an accident in which you are injured, you may be able to sue the governmental entity that employs him or her.
It should be noted, however, that emergency vehicles, like police, fire engines and ambulances, do not always have to follow the same traffic rules. If you are struck by one of these vehicles, it may depend on the specific circumstances whether they may be held liable.
Local and state governmental entities can also be held liable for injuries and death on government property that they would be held liable for if they were a private person, under certain conditions. A governmental entity owes the same duty to people on government premises as it would to a “licensee,” which means it has a duty to warn people of dangerous conditions that it knows or should have known about.
If, for example, a city operates a park, and playground equipment is damaged at the park and dangerous to the children, the city has a duty to hang a sign warning of the danger once city officials know about it. If you are injured on governmental property your ability to sue likely depends on the circumstances. You can consult with a Houston personal injury lawyer to help determine whether you may proceed.
There are limitations, however. For one, unless a city charter says otherwise, you must notify the entity within six months of your injury of your intent to sue. Acting quickly is important.
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Federal Tort Claims Acts Cases in Houston
The Federal Tort Claims Act allows people to sue the federal government for most injuries cause by negligence at a federal facility, like in a post office or Social Security office. You may also seek to recover if you were injured in an auto accident with a federal employee working within the scope of his or her duties. The Act exempts certain failures to perform discretionary and many intentional torts, and does not allow for punitive damages.Back to top
Texas Governmental Liability Resources
- Texas Tort Claims Act: This Texas law allows for lawsuits against Texas governmental bodies, including state agencies, counties, cities and school districts.
- Federal Tort Claims Act: First section of the FTCA, which lays out ability to sue the federal government for torts.
Finding the Best Government Liability Attorney in the Houston Area
If you have a claim for personal injury or property against the federal government, a state agency, a county, a parish, a city, a school district or another governmental body, the Houston government liability lawyers at Ben Bronston & Associates can help you. Call us today at 713-CALL-BEN, or 713-225-5236, for our Houston office.Back to top