Commuters on westbound I-90 experienced a very unusual phenomenon on April 23; a road collapse resulting from a failed sewer pipe close to Hunt Lane. The main lanes were closed for three days. As of this writing, no injuries or deaths were reported in the collapse, but it is worth mentioning that had there been, those injured might have had a difficult time bringing suit to try and recover for their injuries. If you are injured in an accident resulting from poorly maintained or dangerous roads, there are very specific times when an injured person can sue a governmental entity.
Sovereign Immunity May Apply
Whenever the government is implicated in a personal injury lawsuit, a principle called sovereign immunity is implicated. Sovereign immunity is a principle dating back to English common law (on which U.S. law is based) that basically holds the government - or at that time, the sovereign - immune from being sued, because their attention should be on the enforcement of laws and running the government, rather than defending itself from every perceived grievance. As many other states do, Texas has its own sovereign immunity statute, called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA).
Sovereign immunity was absolute back in England - this is not the case in the U.S. nowadays, and definitely not in Texas. The TTCA has specific exceptions to sovereign immunity, meaning that it illustrates situations where the doctrine does not apply and an individual can bring suit against governmental entities - thus, for example, if someone were injured due to the sewer pipe’s collapse underneath I-90, they might sue the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for their injuries, if the specifics of the situation fit the TTCA’s criteria....