It’s an ancient rule of law which protects governmental entities and their employees from certain types of lawsuits. It stems from an old proposition that the king or queen (the sovereign) cannot be sued without his or her consent. Now you ask, how in the world does this apply to me?

You are driving to the grocery store with your children in the back of your car. You proceed through an intersection on a green light when a rescue squad blows thru a red light and crashes into your car, severely injuring one of your children and killing the other. The rescue squad WAS NOT RUNNING WITH FLASHING LIGHTS OR WAILING A SIREN. Fortunately, the County has a large liability insurance policy to help pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills for the treatment your injured child will require.

You then receive a call from the County rescue squad’s insurance carrier, “Sorry, there’s no coverage because of sovereign immunity.”

At the time of the wreck, the rescue squad had a patient it was transporting to the hospital on a non-emergency basis. But our Supreme Court says if the driver is exercising their judgment and discretion in order to effectuate a governmental function, that the driver and the County will be immune from suit. YES, even though the rescue squad was not using its lights or siren, and ran a red light and killed your child, you cannot recover from the rescue squad’s insurance carrier.