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Limitations on Governmental Liability

The concept of sovereign immunity prevents citizens from suing their governments. (As a government by and for “the people,” conducted and administered by democratic representation, citizens would theoretically be suing themselves.) Notwithstanding, branches of both federal and state governments permit the imposition of liability for certain losses and damages. By statutory consent, governments will generally compensate for losses caused by non-discretionary acts of their employees or agencies (so as not to inhibit the exercise of discretionary decision-making in perilous or exigent circumstances, for fear of liability exposure). Often, claimants are prohibited from filing suit in a court of law, but must file in a special Court of Claims, the jurisdiction of which is exclusive to suits involving the government as defendant. Other restrictions and limitations may apply, including limitations on fault, form of remedy, amount of damages, or standing to sue.

Inside Limitations on Governmental Liability