A man and woman were nearly killed in a Northwest Side car crash, and investigators are pointing to a dangerous turnaround lane. Is the state responsible for the couples’ damages?
The incident occurred near the intersection of Huebner and Interstate 10, when a man picked his girlfriend up after work one night. The driver said he never even knew he was in a highway turnaround lane, because the sign was bent backwards in a previous crash and the area is almost completely unlit. Their vehicle skidded off the road and into the ditch, and both vehicle occupants sustained serious injuries. One first responder stated that the turnaround is an accident scene “weekly and almost daily.”
A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation remarked that a new highway sign had been ordered, but delivery can take up to six weeks. Meanwhile, city crews plan to replace the temporary lights with permanent poles in the coming weeks or months.
Suing the State
Government employees are typically immune from negligence lawsuits, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The thinking is that both workers and decision-makers would otherwise be subjected to frivolous lawsuits that would soak up vital resources. However, the State of Texas has waived sovereign immunity, at least in some circumstances.
According to Section 101 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, government employees are liable for personal and property damage they cause while acting in the scope of their employment, if:
The source of injury was a motorized vehicle, and the employee would be liable under Texas law.
There may or may not be a limit on damages. If the injury occurred as a result of a governmental function, including police and fire protection, there is a $250,000 limit for personal injury and a $100,000 limit for property damage. If the negligent person was engaged in a proprietary function, which is essentially anything other than core services, there is no cap.
If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for both your economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are also appropriate, in some cases.
Typically, injured individuals can sue the State of Texas to gain compensation for their losses. For a free consultation in this area, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in New Braunfels. Home and hospital visits are available.