Texas Court Discusses Notice Requirements in Claims Against Political Subdivisions of the State

Pursuant to Texas law, parties injured in car accidents have two years from the date of the collision to pursue claims against the party responsible for the crash. If the responsible party is a political subdivision of the state, though, the injured party must comply with certain notice requirements as well; otherwise, the court may lack jurisdiction over their claim even if it is filed within the statute of limitations. Recently, the court in City of Arlington v. Christopher Evans (No. 02-22-00160-CI) explained the notice requirements imposed on plaintiffs pursuing claims against political subdivisions and ultimately found that the plaintiff’s failure to comply with said requirements demanded the dismissal of his claims. If you sustained harm in an auto accident, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Texas car accident attorney promptly to avoid unwittingly waiving the right to recover damages.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s car was struck by a car owned by the defendant city. The plaintiff sustained injuries and property damage in the crash. As such, he filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. In response, the defendant filed a plea to the jurisdiction in which it argued that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the plaintiff failed to provide the defendant with formal and timely notice of his claim or demonstrate that the defendant had actual awareness that the plaintiff suffered injuries in the crash. The trial court denied the defendant’s plea to jurisdiction, and the defendant appealed.

Notice Requirements in Claims Against Political Subdivisions of the State

On appeal, the court found that the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s plea for jurisdiction. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that governmental immunity categorically prohibits tort claims against municipalities like the defendant unless the legislature has consented to suit. For example, immunity is waived under the Torts Claims Act for car accidents caused by a municipality’s employees.

The Tort Claims Act contains a notice provision, though, and notice of a claim is a jurisdictional prerequisite. In other words, a party must abide by the notice requirement in order for a court to have subject matter jurisdiction over a case in which the plaintiff asserts a claim for which the municipality holds immunity. In the subject case, the court found that the record was devoid of evidence that the plaintiff provided the defendant with notice of his claim or that the defendant had actual notice of the harm he purportedly suffered in the accident. As such, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Trusted Texas Attorney About Your Potential Claim

Car crashes can cause lasting physical and emotional trauma, and parties that negligently cause collisions should be held accountable for their recklessness. If you sustained losses in an auto accident, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your potential claims as soon as possible. Earl Drott is a trusted Texas attorney who possesses the knowledge and resources needed to demonstrate liability in car accident cases, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable outcome. You can reach Mr. Drott through the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free meeting.

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