Government Immunity in Wisconsin
The government immunity law in Wisconsin is directly related to the long existing U.S. existing law of sovereign immunity. By design, its intention is to protect government employees from lawsuits. For many years however, courts have struggled with defining where to draw the line between protections and liabilities. The question is, ‘should the law protect every action of a government employee?” At what point do the government employees negligent or careless actions become a responsibility that they need to be liable for?
Decisions by state and federal courts over recent years reiterate the practical limits of government immunity laws. As a result, the views of government immunity laws continue to evolve as they are challenged. Instead of “immunity first and liability second,” the shift is becoming more like “liability first, and immunity” as a limited exception under the language of the law.
Exempt from Liability
Exempting someone from being liable for their actions or inactions that may have caused injury to another person, merely because they are a public official or work in one way or another for the government; it just doesn’t make much sense. This is why, as a general rule, government entities may still be subject to the same liabilities as private parties. Trying these cases may be complicated. However, if the action or inaction of a government employee resulted in injury to another person, there are circumstances whereby the government immunity law can, should, and will be challenged.
Holding Government Entities & Employees Accountable
Government immunity makes it difficult to hold a government contractor/employee responsible. However, during their course of their employment, they are no likely than anyone else to have accidents. For example: If a public-school janitor left soapy water on the stairs of the school and your child fell on those stairs, the school could argue that they are not responsible for your child’s injuries because the law affords them immunity under this law.
Our firm brought a claim against a local city transit wherein they claimed governmental immunity. The bus company claimed immunity for their failure to properly secure a disabled person who sustained an injury. A lawsuit was filed, and the bus company brought a motion to enforce the immunity. The court found in favor of the injured disabled client. Sometimes government entities appeal these decisions, as did the bus company. In the end, the case was later affirmed at the appellate level.
Courts are more often holding government employees liable for their actions as well; they can’t always rely on immunity. If all of the rules are not followed, any negligence that causes injury to another person could result in a liability or worse yet…a wrongful death case.
If you’ve been injured and need to talk to a personal injury attorney, contact Action Law Offices today. We handle all types of personal injury cases. Your first consultation is free.