Free consultations (505) 889-3463

Sovereign Immunity and the Accompanying Limitations and Waivers in New Mexico

Posted in Auto Accidents

New Mexico has very specific laws that address when sovereign immunity applies and which waivers accompany the statute that was created in the late 1970s. The act that was created to address suits against the government was intended to protect the government from an inundation of legal suits based on actions that are necessary to carrying out the State’s day-to-day business. This act protects the government from being sued without its consent. However, there are still some situations in which this immunity may be waived.

If an individual wants to file a claim against a government entity, it must be filed within 90 days from the accident that gave rise to the claim. The filing must be very specific, and it has to include many details of the accident. If an individual fails to comply with these requirements, their case will likely be dismissed.

One potential issue with the idea of sovereign immunity is that it may give citizens the idea that the government is not accountable for the tortious acts of its employees, so there is no accountability. In response to that concern, certain waivers to this immunity were created.

Some common examples of waivers of immunity in New Mexico include when a government employee is operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft.  Another example is if the government is in charge of a hospital or similar institution that provides health care to the ill. In many cases, the plaintiff must show that there was a certain level of recklessness or knowledge of the risk that caused the harm.

Although there are waivers to immunity, it is important that potential plaintiffs understand that there are also many limitations to liability. There are specific rules regarding the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive.

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Sovereign Immunity Suit Stemming from Police Pursuit

An opinion released by the Texas Supreme Court addresses a claim that was brought by a plaintiff against the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Apparently, a plaintiff was injured in a car accident when a trooper working for DPS ran a red light. The trooper was in the process of pursuing an individual for reckless driving when he injured the plaintiff. Despite Texas’ sovereign immunity act, the plaintiff brought a suit against DPS, relying on one of the state’s enumerated waivers.

Following the suit, DPS responded by stating that they were immune from suit, and therefore the claim should be dismissed. The lower court denied the defendant’s motion, as did the court of appeals. They both found that DPS did not establish the good-faith element of their immunity defense. However, the Supreme Court of Texas reversed these two courts’ findings and remanded the case back to the trial level because they found that these courts did not use the appropriate standard when evaluating the trooper’s liability.

Have You Been Injured By a Government Official in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured by a New Mexico government official, you should contact one of the Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Fine Law Firm to discuss your case. Cases against government officials are exceedingly complex because of the element of immunity and the very specific waiver situations. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can help you navigate the legal landscape and help get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Maine Supreme Court Affirms Jury Verdict Denying Damages to Injured Neighbor, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2015.

New Mexico Officials Urge Drivers to Recognize Risk of Holiday Drunken Driving, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2015.