The three sorts of situations that Texas governmental immunity is waived:
1. You can sue the Texas government for its use of publicly owned automobiles.
2. Premises defects.
3. injuries arising out of a condition or use of tangible personal property.
Can I Sue The Government In Texas?
Most of the time, the government has immunity, and you cannot sue it, even if you are falsely arrested or injured because of governmental actions.
Yet, there are three circumstances:
- Publicly owned automobiles;
- Injuries from using personal property;
- Premises defects
Here is the law on those three times you can sue the government in Texas:
Section 101.021 of the TTCA waives a governmental unit’s immunity in three areas: “(1) use of publicly owned automobiles; (2) injuries arising out of a condition or use of tangible personal property; and (3) premises defects.” Sampson v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 500 S.W.3d 380, 384 (Tex. 2016); see TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM CODE §§ 101.021 (providing that a governmental unit “is liable for . . . personal injury and 7 death so caused 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”); 101.001(3)(B) (including “any city” within definition of “governmental unit”).
At least one pending case involving suing the Texas Government is centered around a 17 year old who was hit by a car, and endured brain injuries and permanent bodily harm because the city failed to maintain traffic lights properly.
In her well-written, brief, Ann Stehling argued that the city of El Paso should be liable for failing to maintain the premises properly.
The outcome of this lawsuit is presently pending but the brief for Appellee submitted to the Court of Appeals can be viewed here.
Story of the Case From Attorney Stehling:
On January 5, 2018, Vanessa Velasquez was a 17-year-old girl with a big, bright future. She was a Junior at Eagle Pass High School, where she earned straight As and played Varsity soccer. Her second season on the Varsity soccer squad was starting soon, and she was excited to finally get her letterman jacket. She dreamed of going to college in New York and hoped to be a lawyer or FBI agent one day. But none of that would be possible. At approximately 10:28 p.m. on January 5, 2018, Vanessa finished her shift at Burger King and decided to walk home rather than wait for a family member to pick her up. As she attempted to cross Garrison Street, where the Burger King 2 restaurant is located, she was violently struck by a car and launched approximately 190 feet. She sustained life-altering bodily injuries and a traumatic brain injury that has left her functioning at the level of a 10-year-old child. As a result of this devastating collision, Vanessa sustained several broken bones, lacerations, internal bleeding, and severe head trauma, forcing her into a coma for several months. She had to spend over a year in medical facilities receiving treatment and is still unable to walk unassisted. Vanessa will never fully recover from her injuries and will never be the person she was prior to the collision. Vanessa will never go to college in New York. She will never be a lawyer or a FBI agent. Her friends and teammates have graduated from high school, going on to college or jobs, but Vanessa’s future is frozen in time. She will spend the rest of her life being cared for by parents or other family, as she requires daily supervision and assistance with the normal day-to-day tasks she was able to do on her own prior to the collision. Defendant Anna Karina De La Garza was driving the vehicle that struck Vanessa. This lawsuit initially named Ms. De La Garza as the sole defendant. CR 5- 6. During her deposition on October 15, 2019, Ms. De La Garza testified that “there was no way for me to see [Vanessa]” because the streetlights in the area were off. See Appx. Tab A (Deposition of Defendant Anna Karina De La Garza (select pages))