What If You Get Hurt on Government Property in Texas?
In Texas, the personal injury lawsuit game changes a lot when you’re hurt on government property. Find out why and what to do to get fair compensation.
Slip and Fall Accidents on Government Property
You’re walking down the street to nearby city hall. As you go, you cross over from private property occupied by a business to government property.
Even though you’ve moved forward just another couple feet, your slip and fall accident happened while on government property.
And now the rules change. A lot.
Texas government has written itself special rules to reduce liability in such cases. You could make the argument this reduces the burden on taxpayers.
…But it also means you have much more difficulty recovering fair compensation if you slip and fall on government property.
Here’s what’s different:
Far Shorter Time to File Your Claim
Called the “statute of limitations,” you have two years to file your claim when injured on private property.
However, when you suffer an injury on government property, this falls to 6 months maximum. And, local jurisdictions can also set even lower limits, including 45 and 90 days.
If you slip and fall on government property, it’s important to report your injury immediately and seek legal help quickly so your claim remains valid.
Compensation Gets Reduced
For claims against a unit of local government, you can get:
- $100,000 per person
- $300,000 per occurrence
- $100,000 for property damage
A “unit of local government” is a county.
For claims against a municipality, these numbers increase to:
- $250,000 per person
- $500,000 per occurrence
- $100,000 for property damage
When you slip and fall on private property in Texas, limits become subjective and much higher.
In general, you can recover full compensation for economic damages (income loss, medical bills, lost capacity to earn, damage to your property) with no limit.
You can also recover damages for non-economic harm (emotional pain and suffering, lost companionship, and others), although that is rare and harder to prove.
The same goes for punitive damages, which are also rare because they aim to punish the institution or individual for their grossly negligent behavior that causes severe injury.
Sovereign Immunity Protects the Government
In England, prior to the formation of America, you could not sue the king or government for any reason. Ever.
That’s where “sovereign immunity” comes from. And that’s what feeds this greater difficulty in suing government bodies in Texas.
However, they don’t have total protection like old England.
A government entity does not have sovereign immunity when performing functions that benefit only its citizens.
But it does have sovereign immunity when performing functions that benefit both citizens and non-citizens.
So, slipping and falling on government property makes your situation more complex, but not impossible.
The bottom line to remember is to report your accident as fast as possible to the entity and get in touch with a personal injury attorney to make sure you protect your rights.
Consultations are Free, So Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
No personal injury law firm can give you a guaranteed figure you can possibly recover. There’s too many external factors not under their control, which also includes the attitudes of the other parties involved.
However, a good PI attorney knows how to navigate the mess that is the Texas legal system to get you the most money possible. Consultations are free, so you’re wise to talk to one, as they may be able to give you a ballpark figure.