Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity Under Missouri Law

Missouri Sovereign Immunity Laws

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

February 20th, 2014 by Ryan E. Bradley

Ryan Bradley is a trial lawyer and owner of The Bradley Law Firm. He specializes in catastrophic personal injury ad wrongful death cases.

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St. Louis Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein by The Bradley Law Firm, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee upon the outcome of any other case. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation. This site is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Missouri or Illinois. The Bradley Law Firm may co-counsel or associate with other law firms around the country at its discretion from initial intake through litigation when it deems appropriate.

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