Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Governmental Immunity
Assume you are driving towards an intersection. You have the green light. A police officer is on the intersecting road responding to a trespassing call, with his lights on, but no siren. You cannot see the officer because of a large building that comes almost entirely up to the intersection. You collide with the officer, who makes no attempt to stop or slow and you are suffer serious personal injuries. Your injuries may include broken bones, paralysis, brain injury and possibly wrongful death. You are comforted by the fact that you had the right of way (the green light) and the officer did not try to stop, his insurance will pay for your injuries, right? Not necessarily.
Employees of Indiana governmental entities (like cities, towns, townships, etc) are protected by immunities not available to the common citizen. In our example, because the police officer was “enforcing a law” the governmental entity he/she works for may be entitled to immunity from liability for his negligence. The officer himself cannot be held personally liable to you because of another law which prevents such claims. There are at least 16 different immunities under the Tort Claims Act protecting governmental entities from liability for the negligent acts of its employees. If you would like to read the act it can be found at Indiana Code 34-13-3 and following.