Corpus Christi Texas - Nueces County & Corpus Christi Governmental Liability Lawyers
Corpus Christi Federal Tort Claims Act attorneys & Corpus Christi Texas Tort Claims Act attorneys serve Corpus Christi residents injured by government actions to ensure that they receive quality legal representation in their claims against the government. If you find yourself facing off against the government, an Corpus Christi government lawsuit lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve, whether your claim is against the Texas state government or the federal government.
Texas Tort Claims Act Lawyers - Government Liability Lawyers Serving Corpus Christi Residents Injured by the State or Municipal Government
An old Latin adage advises “Rex non potest peccare,” or, in English, “The King can do no wrong.” This saying expresses the Old World notion that the ruling class was essentially immune from any liability and could reign as they wished, breaking any laws they saw fit. In fact, at English common law, it was impossible to sue the Sovereign or King for redress. Since every state in the United States—with the notable exception of Louisiana—adopted the English common law, it was also historically impossible for an Corpus Christi, Texas resident or any other Texas citizen to sue the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces County, or the State of Texas. In other words, no government liability existed whatsoever.
Of course, much has changed since our country’s modest beginnings. In 1969, the Texas legislature adopted the Texas Tort Claims Act, which is now found in Chapter 101.001 et seq. of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. Prior to the enactment of the Texas Tort Claims Act, Corpus Christi residents would have been completely barred from suing the Texas government for any harms it inflicted on them.
In a nutshell, the Texas Tort Claims Act § 101.125 allows persons or companies to sue the government for certain things, while also limiting the amount of recovery they may receive for the governmentally-inflicted harm:
The maximum the State of Texas can be held liable for is $250,000.00 per person, $500,000.00 per single occurrence for bodily injury, and $100,000.00 for property damage.
The maximum the City of Corpus Christi can be liable for is $250,000.00 per person, $500,000.00 per single occurrence for bodily injury, and $100,000.00 for property damage.
The maximum Nueces County or a “unit” of local government, can be liable for is $100,000 for each person, $300,000 for each single occurrence for bodily injury or death, and $100,000 for each single occurrence for injury to or destruction of property.
- The maximum liability of an Corpus Christi Police Department, Nueces County EMS, or other emergency service is limited to a maximum amount of $100,000 for each person, $300,000 for each single occurrence for bodily injury or death, and $100,000 for each single occurrence for injury to or destruction of property.
The Texas Legislature was very conservative when it finally allowed Corpus Christi and other Texas municipalities to face suit and it did not extend this governmental liability to all acts of negligence. In fact, only certain enumerated events may create governmental liability under the Texas Tort Claims Act. Some of the more important items in Section 101.0125, which are actionable if they cause injury or harm to someone in the city of Corpus Christi or another location within Texas include:
(1) police and fire protection and control;
(2) health and sanitation services;
(3) street construction and design;
(4) bridge construction and maintenance and street maintenance;
(5) cemeteries and cemetery care;
(6) garbage and solid waste removal, collection, and disposal;
(7) establishment and maintenance of jails;
(9) sanitary and storm sewers;
(21) regulation of traffic;
(22) transportation systems;
(23) recreational facilities, including but not limited to swimming pools, beaches, and marinas;
(25) parking facilities;
(31) maintenance of traffic signals, signs, and hazards;
(32) water and sewer service; and
(33) animal control.
Thus, the Texas Tort Claims Act represents a significant step forward in recognizing that government bodies, like all other persons and entities, should also be held responsible for their actions, at least under certain circumstances. However, even though the Texas legislature waived governmental immunity and created the possibility of governmental liability, it may still be very difficult to hold the City of Corpus Christi or Nueces County legally accountable for negligence or wrongdoing. There are still various pitfalls and obstacles that can befall any case against the government. A knowledgeable Corpus Christi government liability attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and pursue your case against the government.
Notice Provisions of the Texas Tort Claims Act
One way that victims of government action can harm their legal case is by waiting too long to make a claim. Section 101.101 of the Texas Tort Claims Act, entitled “Notice to State of Texas,” provides that the Corpus Christi governmental claims attorney must provide written notice within six (6) months after the accident. The notice must also be sufficiently detailed, and must reasonably describe:
- the damage or injury claimed;
- the time and place of the incident; and,
- the incident.
Additionally, Section 101.101(b), which gives “Notice to the City of Corpus Christi & Nueces County,” specifically adopts Corpus Christi's City Charter, as well as the charters of all other Texas cities, allowing an even shorter time period of ninety (90) days for actions against the municipality (“A city’s charter and ordinance provisions requiring notice within a charter period permitted by law are ratified and approved.”).
Finally, notice is not required if the governmental unit has actual notice of one of the following three things:
- that death has occurred;
- that the claimant has received some injury; or,
- that the claimant’s property has been damaged.
In order to make sure that you comply with these requirements, contact an Corpus Christi government liability lawyer to discuss your claim.
City of Corpus Christi Charter
The City of Corpus Christi Charter is set forth below, in an effort to demonstrate some of its requirements and complexities:
Sec. 17-16. - Same—Notice to mayor and city council; city not liable for injuries, damages, etc., upon failure to give notice.
Before the city shall be liable for damages for the death or personal injuries of any person or for damage to or destruction of property of any kind, which do not constitute a taking or damaging of property under Article I, Section 17, Constitution of Texas, the person injured, if living, or his representatives, if dead, or the owner of the property damaged or destroyed, shall give the mayor or city council notice in writing of such death, injury, damage or destruction, within one hundred eighty (180) days after the occurrences not subject to the Texas Tort Claims Act, stating specifically in such written notice when, how and where the death, injury, damage or destruction occurred and the apparent extent of any such injury, the amount of damages sustained, the actual residence of such claimant for six (6) months immediately preceding the occurrence of such death, injury, damage or destruction, and the names and addresses of all witnesses upon whom it is relied to establish the claim for damages; and the failure to so notify the mayor or city council within the time and manner specified herein shall exonerate, excuse and exempt the city from any liability whatsoever. No act of any officer or employee of the city shall waive compliance, or stop the city from requiring compliance with the provisions of this section as to notice, but such provisions may be waived by resolution of the council made and passed before the expiration of the one-hundred-eighty-day period herein provided or period allowed by the Texas Tort Claims Act and evidenced by minutes of the council.
(1966 Supp., § 2-4.1; Ord. No. 16025, § 1, 2-11-1981; Ord. No. 16455, § 1, 8-12-1981)
Formerly numbered § 17-12.
State law reference— Required notice in death or personal injury cases, V.A.C.S. art. 6252—19.
Sec. 17-17. - Same—City not liable for damages on account of certain conditions existing.
The city shall not be liable for damages to anyone, on account of any defect in, obstruction on, or anything else in connection with any sidewalk in the city; nor shall the city be liable for damages to anyone on account of any defect in, obstruction on, or anything else in connection with any street, alley, or public place, other than any sidewalk, unless and until it be shown that some person, in the employment of the city and having superintendence or control of the work on the streets, alleys or public places, had actual notice of such defect, obstruction or other thing, for a sufficient length of time before such injury was received to have remedied such condition of the street, alley or public place before the injury was received.
(1966 Supp., § 2-4.2)
Formerly numbered § 17-13.
Procedures to follow when filing a claim in Texas:
Provide the information required in Article IX, Section 11, Notice of Claim for Damages, referenced above, in writing and sign the letter before a Notary Public.
Mail the letter to:
P.O. Box 9277
Corpus Christi, TX 78469
with the following attachments:
- three property damage estimates,
- photographs of damage, if any,
- accident report, if available,
- photocopy of Certificate of Title of damaged vehicle,
- photocopy of medical bills, if any, and
Mail a copy to:
Federal Tort Claims Act Lawyer - Serving Corpus Christi Residents Injured by the Federal Government
Just like Texas, the Federal Government traditionally enjoyed sovereign immunity, and therefore those injured by actions of the federal government could not sue to recover damages. However, the federal government was the largest employer in the United States and many injured employees of the federal government needed compensation for their injuries. In addition, many people not employed by the federal government were also being injured by it and they too needed compensation. For example, if a federal government employee was negligently driving a car and injured an Corpus Christi resident, that person would likely seek damages from the federal government to compensate them for their injuries. This is just one example of a myriad of ways in which the issue of federal government liability arose over the years. It became clear that sovereign immunity had become outmoded, and, in 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA is similar in nature to the Texas Tort Claims Act; however, there are some key differences.
Prior to filing suit under the FTCA, a claimant must present his or her claim to the federal agency out of whose activities the claim arises. 28 U.S.C. § 2675.
This must be done within two years after the claim accrues. 28 U.S.C. § 2401.14.
If, within six months after receiving a claim, the agency mails a denial of the claim to the claimant, then the claimant has six months to file suit in federal district court. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2401, 2675.
No period of limitations applies to a plaintiff if the agency fails to act within six months after receiving his claim.
Suits under the FTCA are tried without a jury. 28 U.S.C. § 2402.
An agency may not settle a claim for more than $25,000 without the prior written approval of the Attorney General or his designee.
United States attorneys are authorized to settle claims in amounts up to $1 million.
Attorneys who represent claimants under the FTCA may not charge claimants more than 25 percent of a court award or a settlement made by the Attorney General or his designee after suit is filed, or more than 20 percent of a settlement made by the agency with whom a claim is filed. 28 U.S.C. § 2678.
- A court may not order the United States to pay a claimant’s attorneys’ fees unless the court finds the United States to have acted in bad faith. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(b).
The Federal Tort Claims Act Statutes:
- 2671. Definitions
- 2672 Administrative adjustment of claims
- 2673 Reports to Congress
- 2674 Liability of United States
- 2675. Disposition by federal agency as prerequisite; evidence
- 2676 Judgment as bar
- 2677. Compromise
- 2678 Attorney fees; penalty
- 2679. Exclusiveness of remedy
- 2680. Exceptions
Exceptions to the FTCA
There are three (3) main exceptions to the FTCA. They are:
- The Feres doctrine. This doctrine prohibits lawsuits by military personnel for injuries sustained “incident to service.”
- The discretionary function exception.
- The intentional tort exception.
An Corpus Christi government liability lawyer can explain these exceptions to you in greater detail.
Who can seek recovery under the FTCA?
The FTCA applies to many government employees that are injured. For example, military personnel on the Dyess Air Force Base in Corpus Christi are often injured and seek the help and advice of Corpus Christi personal injury lawyers. A variety of other government employees and private residents of the Corpus Christi and Nueces County, Texas areas may also be injured by actions of either the federal, state, or municipal government. If you, or a loved one, has suffered an injury due to the negligence of the government, or while on the job as a government employee, call one of the Corpus Christi governmental liability lawyers on this page for a consultation regarding your right to recovery.
To read the full text of the Federal Tort Claims Act, click here.
To read the full text of the Texas Tort Claims Act, click here.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Corpus Christi and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout South Texas including Aqua Dulce, Bishop, Calallen, Corpus Christi, Doyle, Driscoll, Gregory, Ingleside, Ingleside on the Bay, Odem, Palo Alto, Petronila, Port Aransas, Portland, Rabb, Robstown, San Juan, San Pedro, Taft, Tierra Grande, Viola, Violet and other communities in Kieberg County, Nueces County, and San Patricio County.
Rest assured that a Nueces County government liability attorney will be familiar with both federal and state laws and will have the expertise necessary to aggressively pursue your claim and get you the financial recovery you deserve. Contact one of the qualified Corpus Christi torts claims act lawyers on this site today.