Hurt During Basic Training? Know Your Rights

Sustaining an injury during basic training can lead to lost time and temporary discharge. A recent study of 756 men and 474 women found that out of these numbers, 102 men and 108 women were discharged due to an injury sustained during basic training. Most temporary discharges were for treatment and recovery, resulting in lost time.

Throughout the years, many soldiers sustained injuries during basic training and abuse after identifying the injury. Several army bases in Oklahoma faced scrutiny over the past ten years for the high rate of injured soldiers. A large portion of the 1100 injured soldiers claimed that their injuries remained untreated, even after being pulled from basic training. In cases like these, who is liable?

The Texas Tort Claims Act is a set of rules that protect governmental bodies from litigation in personal injury cases. However, the Tort Act does allow the government to be held liable for specific types of damages. Contact Brian White, an experienced personal injury attorney, if you have been injured in during basic training and would like to explore your options.

The Tort Claims Act

The Texas legislature enacted the Tort Claims Act in 1969. Prior to this act, the government was completely protected from personal injury lawsuits. Previously, you could not seek damages from state or local governments, even if a government employee or officer directly caused your injury. The Tort Claims Act remedied this. It waived sovereign immunity, and government bodies or employees can be held liable for specific personal injury situations.

A Texas governmental employee or body can be held liable for:

  • Property damage, personal injury, or death, if caused by a wrongful act or negligence of a government employee. If the injury occurred because of the operation or use of a motor vehicle, or if the employee would otherwise be held liable personally under Texas law, the employee can be held liable.
  • The injury or death, if caused by dangerous conditions within tangible government property. Additionally, if the entity would be held liable under laws for private cases, liability may be justified.

The Tort Claims Act also limits the amount of money you can receive in a personal injury suit. The maximum damage amount is limited to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per each occurrence of injury or death. Property damage is limited to $100,000 for each occurrence.

Essentially, these statutes mean a government body can be held liable under two conditions:

  1. The injury was a direct result of government-owned property or a government employee caused the injury.
  2. The government body or employee would be considered liable in a “normal” personal injury case.

Seeking Compensation for Basic Training Injuries

Even under those two conditions, compensation is limited. As with all personal injury cases, negligence is a significant determining factor. For example, you might have to prove the following:

  • The injury occurred because you were forced to do something beyond your physical capability.
  • The military was negligent or intentionally caused the accident.
  • Medical care was not provided or was not enough.

While the Tort Claims Act does allow government employees to be held liable, it also serves to protect the government from “frivolous” lawsuits. For example, injuries that are not severe or cannot be proven to be an act of negligence will be considered damages, limiting the possibility for litigation.

Contact attorney Brian White if you are unsure if a personal injury suit is the best option. Based in Houston, Texas, our firm has experience across multiple personal injury specialties. We provide exceptional representation, and it is our goal to get the most compensation possible for you.