After a Maryland truck accident, victims may have to deal with immunity defenses if one or more defendants are government entities. For example, if a truck driver or other vehicle driver was working for a city government or another government entity at the time of the crash, the defendant may assert immunity as a defense to the lawsuit.
Generally, state and local governments in Maryland are protected from lawsuits through immunity. Similarly, employees of state and local governments are generally protected from lawsuits while they are acting within their official capacity. They are generally immune from lawsuits unless immunity is waived in some way. Immunity is specifically waived in some circumstances under the law. For example, a city government generally is not protected when carrying out proprietary functions—generally, propriety functions that are done for the benefit or profit of a corporation. In contrast, city governments are protected when carrying out government functions—generally, those that are sanctioned by the legislature, are only done for the benefit of the public and have no element of private interest. Employees also may lose the protection of immunity if they act with malice or gross negligence. Immunity for states such as the state of Maryland, as opposed to city and county government, is generally broader. But immunity may still be waived if, for example, the employee was not acting within the scope of their public duties or if the employee acted with malice or gross negligence.
Additional requirements may also apply in claims against the government. For example, in claims against the state under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, normally, a claimant is required to submit a claim in writing to the state’s treasurer within one year of the injury. Then if the treasurer denies the claim, the claim can then be filed in court—generally within three years of the cause of action arising.