Visitor Question

When is the state at fault for injury?

Submitted By: Natasha (Chelsea, OK)

On 1-30-14, I was driving through the state of Mississippi, down on I-20, just west of Meridian. Traffic was at a stand still. I ended up sleeping out on the highway due to 2 other semi trucks getting together and swappin’ paint, metal, wood, rivets, fuel, engines… it was pretty bad. This was all because of an ice storm that ripped through that area the day before.

While stopped out on the highway, another driver told me over my CB radio, that my tail lights were completely covered. I opened my driver side door, planted my right foot on the step, and slid out of my truck to the icy pavement below. I slipped on the ice, and sat there a few minutes before trying to get up. Once I was up, I was a little wobbly, but not that bad.

As I was walking to the rear of my semi, I slipped again. I got up and continued to the rear of the trailer to dust off my tail lights. After I got the lights dusted off so that other vehicles could see them, I proceeded back to the cab. About 5 feet from my door, I again slipped and fell.

I was just wondering, if the state knew this weather was coming days in advance, and did nothing about it, are they liable for any compensation due to injuries I received? Is there anything else I can do to help pay my medical bills? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Natasha,

In a word, “No.”

In the first case, the State of Oklahoma has what is referred to as “sovereign immunity.” This means, theoretically, that an individual is prohibited from suing the state or one of its governmental agencies. In spite of its sovereign immunity, the State of Oklahoma can agree to permit an injured individual to file a “tort claim” action. A tort claim can be a personal injury action against the state or one of its agencies.

Unfortunately, you will have a very difficult…no, an impossible time trying to get the state to agree to support your tort claim based on the State’s failure to remove the ice from I-20. If you were to succeed in such a tort claim, you would make history. We were unable to find even one case of an individual successfully pursuing a tort claim against the State of Oklahoma based on their failure to de-ice I-20.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 27, 2014

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