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Plaintiff’s Case Against Government Dismissed Based on Failure to Provide Adequate Notice

When someone is injured due to the allegedly negligent act of a government employee or entity, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries through a Texas personal injury lawsuit. However, as a general rule, government entities are not liable for injuries caused by their negligent actions related to carrying out government business. In some specific situations, however, government immunity is waived. This is normally through statutorily defined exceptions contained in the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA).In order for an accident victim to pursue a valid claim against a government entity, the victim must comply with the procedural requirements set forth in the TTCA. One of the major requirements of the TTCA is the notice requirement. As a general rule, notice must be provided to the agency that is being named as a defendant. However, in some cases, notice need not be provided if the agency has actual notice through other means.

Courts have held that a government can be said to have actual notice of a potential claim if the agency has subjective knowledge that there was an accident involving death or injury, the government agency’s fault contributed to the accident, and the government knows the identity of the parties. A recent case illustrates how courts strictly interpret this requirement, and how an accident victim’s failure to comply with the requirement may adversely affect their case.

The Facts of the Case

The San Antonio Police Department initiated a high-speed chase of a man they believed to have been involved in a robbery. Police abandoned the chase when the suspect entered the highway going the wrong direction. However, not long after police abandoned the chase, the suspect collided head-on with the plaintiffs’ vehicle, injuring one plaintiff and killing the other.

The plaintiffs did not file notice of their claim with the city and proceeded with a personal injury action. The city claimed that it did not have notice of the claim, and thus, since the plaintiffs failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the TTCA, the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The plaintiffs claimed that the police department had subjective knowledge of the accident and that the police knew that their decision to engage in the chase was a cause of the accident. In support of this, the plaintiff presented the crash report listing “Fleeing/Evading Police” as one of the causes of the accident.

The court, however, disagreed with the plaintiff, explaining that by merely listing “Fleeing/Evading Police” as one of the causes of the accident, the police department was not acknowledging that it was at fault. The court explained that the accident report’s listed cause of the accident was not synonymous with accepting responsibility for initiating the chase. As a result, the court held that the government did not have actual notice, and the plaintiffs should have served notice on the department pursuant to the TTCA.

Have You Been Injured in a Texas Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Texas car accident, or another Texas accident involving a government agency, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated San Antonio personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Carabin Shaw have extensive experience helping victims and their families seek the compensation they deserve. Call 1-800-862-1260 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.

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Actual Knowledge in a Texas Slip and Fall, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, February 13, 2018

Liability After Texas Freshman Killed on Campus?, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, February 13, 2018

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