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Injury Claims Under the Texas Tort Claims Act

Posted on September 10, 2023

The Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) is a pivotal piece of legislation in the realm of personal injury law within the State of Texas. It lays down the framework for individuals seeking compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of government employees or agencies.

Understanding the TTCA

The TTCA serves as a legal avenue for individuals to hold government entities accountable for injuries sustained due to negligence. It applied to a wide range of governmental bodies, including state agencies, municipalities, school districts, and various other local government bodies. Understanding which organizations are covered is a critical initial step in pursuing a claim.

When Can You Sue Under the TTCA?

You can sue under the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) when you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a government employee or agency while they were acting within the scope of their employment. Here are some key criteria for filing a lawsuit under the TTCA:

  • Negligence by a Government Employee: To have a valid claim, you must demonstrate that the injury resulted from a government employee’s negligence. This negligence could involve actions, decisions, or failures to act that directly led to your injury.
  • Within the Scope of Employment: The negligent actions of the government employee must have occurred while they were performing duties within the scope of their employment. If the employee was acting outside the scope of their job, the TTCA may not apply.

However, there are only three specific categories of tort claims that a party may bring against the State:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

This category encompasses claims arising from accidents involving vehicles owned or operated by the government. It includes situations where a government employee is involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in injury or property damage.

Use of Tangible Personal Property

Claims in this category pertain to injuries or damages resulting from the use of physical, tangible property owned or operated by the government. This can include cases where malfunctioning equipment or property defects lead to harm.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims involve injuries sustained on government-owned or operated property due to dangerous conditions. This could include slip and fall incidents, inadequate maintenance, or other hazards on the premises.

It is important to note that each category has its own set of rules and considerations, and not all circumstances may fall within these categories. Additionally, there may be exceptions and immunities that could affect the outcome of a claim.

Procedural Requirements

Pursuing an injury claim under the TTCA involves strict adherence to procedural requirements. This includes providing notice of the claim within six months of the date of the accident. Additionally, you have two years from the accident date to file an injury lawsuit. Failing to meet these deadlines can jeopardize your claim, and you may lose your right to pursue compensation.

Limitations on Damages

The TTCA limits the damages that can be awarded in a successful claim. These limitations are intended to strike a balance between compensating victims and safeguarding public resources. Damages typically cover actual economic losses and are subject to the following caps.

  • Up to $250,000 per person
  • Up to $500,000 per incident for bodily injury or death

Other government entities (e.g., local government entities) have caps of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. Punitive damages against government agencies are not permitted.