On December 28, 2020, a woman (hereinafter “Woman”) filed a complaint in the Harris County District Court against Harris County (hereinafter “HARRIS COUNTY”). The Woman asserts causes of action for negligence and vicarious liability against Defendant HARRIS COUNTY as a result of an incident (hereinafter “incident”) that caused her to suffer personal inures, impairment, and lost wages.
The incident occurred on December 26, 2018, when the Woman was safely traveling on the 9000 block of West Sam Houston Parkway North in Harris County, Texas. The Woman came to a safe and complete stop due to merging traffic ahead of her. At the same time, Harris County Police Officer Freddy Khalid was traveling on the same stretch of roadway and driving his patrol car. Without warning, the Woman alleges, Officer Khalid “violently slammed” into the back of the Woman’s vehicle. The Woman further alleges the impact was so severe it caused her to be thrown about in her vehicle. The Woman’ complaint alleges Officer Khalid failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to travel at a safe speed, and further failed to timely apply his brakes. At all times necessary to the incident, Officer Khalid was working within the course and scope of his employment with Harris County Sheriff’s Office and acting in furtherance of a mission for Defendant HARRIS COUNTY’s benefit and subject to its control.
Ordinarily, HARRIS COUNTY would have the benefit of sovereign immunity because lawsuits against the government for negligence of a governmental employee are forbidden. However, the Texas Tort Claim Act waives sovereign immunity in certain circumstances, including where the injuries are caused by a governmental employee’s operation of a motor vehicle. In such cases, lawsuits may be brought against the government. Here, the Woman was injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by an on-duty employee, Officer Khalid; therefore, the Woman may file suit against HARRIS COUNTY for the injuries and damages sustained as a result of the governmental employee’s negligence.
The Woman seeks monetary relief for damages resulting from, among others, medical expenses both past and future, physical pain and suffering both past a future, impairment, disfigurement, lost wages, and mental anguish, among others.
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