What is the Texas Torts Claims Act?

The Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA or Act) is a set of state statutes that determine when a city or other governmental entity may be liable for accidents or intentional acts that cause property damage or personal injury. The TTCA provides a partial waiver of immunity for the State of Texas and its various political subdivisions, including cities, counties, and school districts. Prior to the adoption of the Act, individuals could not recover damages from cities or other governmental units for injuries or damages caused by the actions of a government employee or officer in the performance of a governmental function. Sovereign immunity (state) and governmental immunity (local governments like cities and counties) serve several purposes. It protects the expense of time and money caused by private litigation and encourages forthright action by public officials. It also protects the government from fraudulent or frivolous suits. In 1969, the Texas Legislature enacted the TTCA. The TTCA waived immunity for a governmental entity that was engaged in a governmental function. A governmental unit in the state is liable for:

  1. Property damage, personal injury, and death proximately caused by the wrongful act or omission or the negligence of an employee acting within the scope of employment if:
    1. The property damage, personal injury, or death arises from the operation or use of a motor-driven vehicle or motor-driven equipment; and
    2. The employee would be personally liable to the claimant according to Texas law; and
  2. Personal injury and death so caused by a condition or use of tangible personal or real property if the governmental unit would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law.

Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code Section 101.021

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1. What is the Texas Torts Claims Act?
2. What does this mean?
3. When is the city liable for property damage?
4. What does “motor-driven vehicle” or “motor-driven equipment” mean?
5. What Is Not Considered a “Motor-Driven Vehicle” or “Motor-Driven Equipment”?
6. What are some common issues the city has no liability for under the TTCA?
7. If I need to file a claim, what do I need to do?
8. How long will it take for my claim to be processed?