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State Supreme Court Partially Reverses Judgment in Personal Injury Case Involving Claims of Governmental Immunity

Posted in Auto Accidents

In early November, the Supreme Court of Connecticut heard oral arguments stemming from a governmental immunity matter. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was hit by a vehicle near his school’s driveway. Through his parents, he brought a lawsuit against several defendants, including the superintendent and assistant principals of the school. The plaintiff argued that the named defendants negligently supervised the school’s staff and students, and as a result the plaintiff suffered injuries.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that they enjoyed governmental immunity and could not be held liable. The trial court agreed and found that the defendants’ duty to supervise the students and staff was considered discretionary, and as a result governmental immunity applied. The trial court also found that although the superintendent and principals had a ministerial duty to assign staff to guard the lot, these administrators were also entitled to summary judgment because they fulfilled their duty by creating a schedule of assigned staff to monitor the lot. However, on the day in question, there was no staff member monitoring the lot because the scheduled staff member was out sick.

The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court of the state. The Supreme Court reversed part of the lower court’s decision. Specifically, the court found that the lower court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the assistant principals because there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether certain aspects of parking lot safety were made known to staff members. However, the Supreme Court affirmed that the superintendent did satisfy his specific duty because he delegated his responsibility to the assistant principals. In the end, the plaintiff’s case was allowed to proceed to trial against the assistant principals only.

New Mexico’s Statute Governing Governmental Immunity

When people are injured by governmental entities or public employees, it can be an uphill battle to get the compensation that they deserve. Almost every state has a statute in place that protects these individuals from being held liable in personal injury lawsuits. However, as in many other areas of the law, there are exceptions.

The Tort Claims Act governs the circumstances under which the New Mexico government can be sued. New Mexico statute § 41-4-4 generally provides that New Mexico governmental entities and public employees should be granted immunity for any tort except those covered by exceptions.

In order to sue the government or a public employee, the negligent conduct of the government employee or agency must fall into one of the enumerated exceptions. There are many exceptions to the general rule of government immunity, but limitations to the amount of compensation that a victim may receive may apply. To learn more about government liability in New Mexico, seek out a dedicated personal injury attorney.

Have You Been Injured by a Government Employee in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured by a government employee in New Mexico, you should contact the dedicated attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. These cases necessitate a deep understanding of the law and require detailed and meticulous arguments in order to prevail. The experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have years of experience handling cases involving slip-and-fall accidents. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can help you understand your rights and remedies and get you on track to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact the Fine Law Firm at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Dismisses Medical Malpractice Case Due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Comply with Statute of Limitations, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2016.

Woman Awarded $1.2 Million Verdict in Grocery Cart Injury Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 18, 2016.