Hablamos Español

Governmental Entity Liability and Discretionary Functions Under the Indiana Tort Claims Act

Indiana Tort Claims Act - Discretionary Functions

Governmental entities can be held liable in certain instances, but sometimes are protected from liability by a state’s Tort Claims Act. In cases where there someone is acting in their official capacity as an employee of the state or federal government, and they cause injury to someone, the government agency can potentially be held liable for the injury caused.

Sometimes, however, government entities have immunity under any one type of statutory immunity. There are many different types of immunity that a governmental entity could claim. In the case of individuals (most commonly law enforcement officers), they will have qualified immunity.

Under the Indiana Tort Claims Act, governmental entities have discretionary functions, where they cannot be held liable if the government can decide whether or not they should notify citizens of a particular danger. If something is discretionary, the government can decide whether or not, or when, to inform people of any kind of danger. When does this governmental defense fail?

The Case: State of Indiana v. Cristobal Alvarez

A recent Indiana appellate court case has stated that when there is no policy decision connected with the argued discretionary situation, then there is no discretionary immunity under a state’s tort claims act, or the Federal Tort Claims Act.

In this case, the residents in an apartment complex in East Chicago in Northwestern Indiana were notified that there were high levels of lead in the water by the EPA, and a couple days later the mayor of East Chicago sent a letter to the residents of that apartment and told them to find a new place to live as soon as possible.

Over 300 residents of the apartment complex then filed suit against a number of governmental entities, most of them located in Indiana. The state and the governmental entities argued that the decision of how and when to inform these people of the lead concentration in the water in their apartment complex was a discretionary decision, meaning that it was up to the state and government as to how and when they would inform these people.

The state also argued that these residents knew or should have known that they needed to move, based on the flyer sent by the EPA. However, many residents testified that they did not realize how serious the issue was until they received notice from the mayor that they needed to find new residences.

The appellate court here used several Indiana Appellate Court cases and a few 7th Circuit cases to show that this argument that because this function was discretionary, that the governmental entities should be immune was incorrect. Discretionary functions do not lead to governmental or state immunity.

What Does This Case Mean?

This case is important because it lays out when a state or federal entity can claim statutory immunity, and when it cannot. In a civil case, this can be very important because it can determine when someone can be compensated for any injuries and when they cannot be compensated for any injuries.

Have You Suffered Injury at the Hands of a State or Government Entity?

Here at Hurst Limontes, we have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients against insurance companies, or state or government entities. If you have been injured by the negligence of a governmental entity, contact our office for a free consultation with one of our award winning personal injury attorneys today!

Contact Us For a Free Consultation Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential initial consultation.

    FAQs
    Our Fees

    It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

    If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

    If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

    Our Fees

    It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

    If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

    If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

    Case Worth

    As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

    Why Hire?

    Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

    Medical Bills

    If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of Hurst Limontes LLC and learn if we may be able to help.

    Recovery

    After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney