When a victim is injured as result of the negligence of an employee of the state or municipal government, and a lawsuit is filed, government defendants will often try to escape liability or limit liability based on what is known as the doctrine of sovereign immunity. While the actual statute may have a different name under state or local government tort claims acts, the doctrine essentially places a limit on the amount of money one can demand or be awarded from a government defendant in many situations.
The reason these laws exist is because lawmakers felt that in order for a government to perform its essential functions, it must be able to operate without constant fear of lawsuits that could bankrupt the treasury. The rationale is that a government, unlike a private citizen or corporation, has no choice but to act. The government is responsible for providing various functions. For example, even during a major snowstorm, the government must send out plows and salt trucks. This is dangerous work, and it may result in personal injury or property damage. Since the government has not choice but to go out and work on the roads, a person should be limited in amount of money they may obtain in a lawsuit. Continue reading