If you were injured due to the negligence or intentional act of a government employee or agency, you may be wondering if you can pursue damages. The short answer—as it is for so many other legal inquiries—is “it depends.”
The South Carolina Tort Claims Act was introduced to enable the recovery of damages from state governmental entities in tort actions; however, the Act does specify various exceptions to the waiver of sovereign immunity. Currently, there are 40 or so such exceptions.
For example, governmental entities cannot be held liable for losses resulting from:
- Judicial, quasi-judicial, or legislative action or inaction;
- Entering a property where the entry is authorized by law either impliedly or expressly;
- Collection or assessment of taxes; and
- Employee conduct outside the scope of official duties or that constitutes actual malice, intent to harm, actual fraud, or a crime involving moral turpitude.
The easiest way to find out if sovereign immunity applies to your case is to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
Are There Damages Caps That Apply to Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities?
Yes. Though the following cap amounts may soon increase, currently in South Carolina, the total damages award against a government entity cannot exceed $600,000 for a single occurrence. Even if multiple people were injured, and even if multiple government agencies were involved, the maximum recoverable amount to be split among the plaintiffs would be $600,000. For an individual, the total damages award is capped at $300,000.
Damages are capped at $1.2 million in claims against government entities that are caused by the tort of a dentist or physician who is employed by the governmental entity. Punitive damages cannot be awarded against a governmental entity in South Carolina.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Assist with My Case?
Bringing a claim against a governmental entity can be incredibly complicated. There are nuances to these cases that do not apply to tort claims brought against private citizens, corporations, and other organizations. Any attorney seeking to practice in this area needs to be well-versed in the South Carolina Tort Claims Act and know the exceptions to the waivers of sovereign immunity so they can plead and litigate the claim accordingly. Your attorney can also help by:
- Compiling all available evidence of liability, causation, and damages;
- Helping you file the necessary paperwork;
- Ensuring you don’t miss any critical deadlines, which are often shorter in governmental entity cases;
- Helping you avoid mistakes such as missing doctor’s appointments or discussing the accident on social media; and
- Accounting for all the damages you have incurred.
Discuss Your Claim with a Spartanburg Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all lawyers have the experience to bring tort claims against government entities, but at Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we know what it takes to win substantial settlements and verdicts in these cases.* If you or someone you love was harmed in an accident that involved a government agency or employee, contact us today for a free consultation. Call 864-585-3873 or send us a message to speak with a member of our team.
*This should in no way be interpreted as a guarantee of a specific result for your case or any case. All cases are unique and must be evaluated on their own merits.