I was injured by the negligence of a state of Tennessee employee. Can I sue the employee or the State?
The State will be responsible for the employee’s negligence under two conditions. First, the employee must have been acting in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the negligent act or omission. Second, the State must have given permission to have been sued in the particular type of circumstance where the negligence has occurred.
That last condition is a little confusing. The State cannot be sued without permission, but it has given permission in advance to be sued for a number of types of cases. For instance, if a state employee runs a red light and causes a traffic wreck while on the business of the State the State has given permission to be sued. There are a laundry-list of other circumstances in which the State has given permission to be sued.
If the two conditions are satisfied, you cannot sue the employee but can only bring your claim against the State. The employee is immune from personal liability.
Lawsuits against the State are not filed in court. Instead, they go through a claims process and the actual trial is conducted before a claims commissioner.
The claim must be filed within one year of the date of the negligent act or omission that causes an injury.
You should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through this process.