On this blog, we often talk about serious accidents that are caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person. We have noted that drunk, distracted, aggressive, careless and fatigued drivers can and often are held liable for the damages caused by their behaviors.
However, not every car accident involves a negligent driver. In some cases, a crash happens because of road conditions. In these situations, it can be very difficult to determine if there is even a party to hold accountable. While not every case like this can or should lead to legal action, there may be the option of filing a lawsuit against the county.
In Tennessee and many other states, the government has immunity from lawsuits. However, in accordance with the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, this immunity can be removed in situations involving negligence.
For example, let’s imagine a scenario where a man is driving and hits a pothole. He loses control of his car, crashes into building and suffers serious injuries.
For there to be grounds for a lawsuit, it must be established that the government was negligent in maintaining the road. For instance, was the pothole very large? Were complaints about the poor condition of the road made? Should there have been a construction cone or tape in place warning drivers of the hazard? These are the types of questions that should be answered in order to determine negligence and legal options.
Further, it should be noted that there are limits to how much the government can be held liable. State laws dictate that if a plaintiff’s case is successful, liability limits are capped at $300,000 for an accident causing injury or death and $100,000 for accidents resulting in damage to property.
Filing a lawsuit against the government is not the same as filing a lawsuit against another party and failure to recognize this and comply with proper procedure could lead to a dismissal of your claim. Seeking the help and guidance of an attorney familiar with state and federal laws regarding government liability can be wise.