It’s time for the next installment of Holcomb Dunbar law series “Insurance Law from A to Z.” This was put together by our litigation group who practice in the insurance law arena. Of course, if you have questions about these or any other topics please do not hesitate to contact us.
This week’s installment – Governmental Immunity
The State of Mississippi and its political subdivisions have waived their tort immunity in certain circumstances for up to $500,000 in damages, or up to the limit of the governmental entities liability insurance if higher, for any single occurrence. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-5, 15.
Complete governmental tort immunity is retained for certain claims, including: claims arising from a governmental employee’s exercise or failure to exercise a discretionary function or duty; claims arising from an act or omission of a governmental employee engaged in police or fire protection activities unless the employees acted in a reckless disregard for the safety of any person other than those engaged in criminal activity at the time of the injury; claims arising from when the claimant was in prison; and claims arising out of the administration of corporal punishment or actions to maintain control of students unless the teacher acted in bad faith, with a malicious purpose, or in wanton and willful disregard of human rights or safety. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-9.
Notice of Claim
A claimant must give written notice of claim to the chief executive officer of the governmental entity being sued 90 days prior to filing suit. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11. Notice of claim provisions must be strictly complied with. University of Mississippi Medical Center v. Easterling, 928 So. 2d 815 (Miss. 2006).
The one-year statute of limitations will be tolled for 95 days against the state or 120 days against a municipality or other political subdivision upon filing the notice of claim. If the governmental entity denies the claim sooner, the statute will once again begin to run. Once the claim is denied or the tolling period has expired, the claimant has an additional 90 days tacked on to the original limitations period in which to file suit. Page v. University of Southern Mississippi, 878 So. 2d 1003 (Miss. 2004)
The information contained in this post is for general guidance on matters of interest only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be omissions or inaccuracies in information contained in this report. Accordingly, the information in this report is provided with the understanding that the authors are not herein engaged in rendering legal, tax, or other professional advice and services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, particularly before denying any first-party claims, you should consult with your in-house counsel or the attorneys at Holcomb Dunbar.