A Texas woman recently found herself with no recourse after a large traffic sign fell on her Lexus SUV. Stephanie Hawkins was stopped at a light with her teenage daughter when she felt her vehicle shake violently. Thinking she'd been in an accident, she stepped outside only to find a sign had fallen over onto her vehicle. After taking photos of the incident and receiving a repair estimate of $2,791.25, Hawkins filed a claim with the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT quickly responded by saying the state government was not responsible for the damage and therefore would not pay to fix her vehicle.
How is that possible? According to Texas, government agencies are not liable for damages caused while performing government safety functions. That includes maintaining signs. The ruling is part of the Texas Tort Claims Act and the Doctrine of Government Immunity. In a separate statement, TxDOT said it investigated the claim and found no negligence on its part. Take a look at the local news report on the incident below.