The concept of sovereign immunity is likely something that most people who are not lawyers will ever have to know about or deal with. However, if you are even in an accident with a vehicle controlled by a municipality (i.e. a garbage truck, public works vehicle, or fire truck) or want to hold a state agency accountable for poor road design or maintenance, this term may be used against you in order to limit or prohibit your claim.
This post will briefly explain what sovereign immunity is and how it may hamper your case.
At its core, the concept of sovereign immunity is where a government and its political subdivisions cannot be sued unless it consents to the lawsuit. The concept is generally used to protect government employees in their daily decisions from lawsuits. For instance, a negligence claim against a sanitation department for a truck stopping suddenly to pick up trash may not be actionable depending on the circumstances. After all, these employees must be able to do their jobs without the constant fear of a lawsuit.
Because of this, a lawsuit against a municipality may present hurdles that a skilled personal injury attorney may have to overcome. Indeed, sovereign immunity is not absolute. There are instances where a government employee or agency may not be exempt from being held liable in negligence lawsuits.
So if you have questions about whether you can bring suit against a government entity or whether your claim will survive a challenge under sovereign immunity, having a conversation with an experienced car accident lawyer will help.