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Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity

Generally, under Missouri sovereign immunity laws, public entities such as state, county, or city governments are protected against lawsuits for the negligent acts of their employees. However, Missouri law has established two broad exceptions to the doctrine of sovereign Immunity. First is the motor vehicle exception. The second is the dangerous condition exception.

Political subdivisions of Missouri may purchase liability insurance for tort claims, for example Missouri car accident claims, which waives sovereign immunity. However, the immunity is only waived to the extent of the insurance purchased. For those hurt in Missouri car accidents, this means their personal injury lawyer may sue the political subdivision and the employee for their negligent conduct. 

The second exception to sovereign immunity is where the public entity maintains a dangerous condition. For example, if a city maintains a playground with equipment not properly anchored which results in equipment tipping over and falling on a child causing injuries. Under this sovereign immunity exception, under Missouri law, four elements must be

proven:

  1. A dangerous condition of the property exists:missouri law Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity
  2. The injury caused directly resulted from the dangerous condition:
  3. The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of this kind of injury: and
  4. The public employee negligently created the dangerous condition or had actual or constructive notice of the condition in time to have protected against the injury.

An example of the second exception would be a Missouri premises liability claim such as dangerous debris in a city park property that the city employees knew was present for several days yet took no action to remove it.Certainly, there are other many and varied circumstances which could be the basis for a cause of action against a political subdivision or public entity.

If you or any of your loved ones are injured by the negligence of an employee of the State of Missouri, a county employee, or a city employee, you should have the facts of your particular situation evaluated by a Missouri personal injury lawyer to determine if you will be barred from bringing your case by the doctrine of sovereign immunity under Missouri law.

As always, our Missouri personal injury attorneys offer free consultations on all injury claims. If you would like more information about Missouri sovereign immunity laws, contact us today.