I am outraged! My son was injured at his government job in Kentucky and eventually died of his injuries. He had astronomical medical bills, and he reached the cap on his insurance benefits. I think the government has an obligation to pay for whatever insurance won’t pay, but it looks as if they don’t have to under the U.S. Constitution’s “sovereign immunity” rule. Is the government really above its own laws?!

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I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s true that our Constitution upholds sovereign immunity, which basically prevents victims from bringing a lawsuit against the government or its employees unless the government consents—but it’s really not all black and white.

Sovereign immunity has its roots in British law, which upheld that the King or Queen can do no wrong. As the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School states, “These days, the application of sovereign immunity is much less clear-cut, as different governments have waived liability in differing degrees under differing circumstances.”

As early as 1855, the U.S. government began to waive sovereign immunity in non-tort cases when it established the U.S. Court of Claims, which heard “cases against the United States involving contracts based upon the Constitution, federal statutes, and federal regulations” (according to The Free Dictionary).

With the passing of the Tort Claims Act in 1946, Congress waived immunity for government agencies, officers, and employees—with plenty of exceptions. It’s definitely complicated, and you should get an experienced Louisville wrongful death attorney to figure it all out for you and find a way for you to get those bills paid.

Give us a call at Gray and White Law: 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456. We’ll set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.