In tort cases, there are certain intervening factors which allow individuals immunity, from their actions. Immunity implies either, that the person could not understand the risks associated with their actions, or that they can not be held liable because they were acting on behalf of the government or other entity. Cases in which individuals are not likely to understand the possible outcomes of their actions, include infant immunity or insanity immunity.
Infant immunity applies to minors that are too young to grasp the consequences of their actions. In addition, the minor must not have no intent to cause harm to person or property. It can not be claimed that the minor did not understand the consequences of their actions, if they intended the negative consequences that resulted from their actions. Intent can not be present without an understanding of possible outcomes.
In cases that involve infant immunity, the parents or guardians of the minor, could be held liable for their actions, regardless of the minors understanding of the possible outcomes of those actions. Insanity immunity can be utilized as a defense in cases where a person is deemed insane, or mentally incapable of understanding the possible outcomes of an action.
In cases where insanity immunity is a factor, the caregiver of the person that acted in manner which caused a negative outcome, could be held liable in the same manner that a parent or guardian could be liable for a minor. In either case, the actor and those responsible for the care of the actor, could both be held liable for the action.
There are immunities offered to those that are employed by certain institutions. For example, public employees, such as police officers, can not be held liable for reasonable actions they took during the course of their duties. For example, if an officer injured a civilian when chasing a suspect, they could not be held liable unless they acted irresponsibly during the course of their duties. In fact, the suspect would likely be liable for those injuries.
If however, a police officer fails to act when they should, they can be held liable for their actions. If an officer failed to intervene in a fight which caused injury, the officer could be held liable for the injuries sustained. In addition, employees for other governmental agencies, can not be held liable for actions which caused a negative outcome.
A judge that fails to grant a restraining order because of a lack of evidence, can not be held liable if someone sustains injuries as a result of that ruling. If however, a judge fails to issue a restraining order when there is sufficient evidence, it is possible that they could be held liable for injuries or deaths that resulted because of that ruling. Those determinations are made by each jurisdiction.
There are also immunities granted for tort cases made against certain institutions. For example, governments can not generally be held responsible for the actions of its employees, even when those actions were mandated by the government. Those employees are generally acting for the good of the people and they are not held responsible if the act causes liability issues for one or several people, unless those outcomes were absolutely foreseeable. There are cases in which the Federal government, or local governments waive immunity.
They may waive immunity directly or indirectly as a result of tort laws that are currently active. Charities used to be granted immunity in order to protect donor money. However, charitable immunity is no longer utilized in many jurisdictions. The courts have ruled that the importance of people outweighs the importance of the charitable organization. In fact, charities are suppose to act for the good of all people, not in opposition of people. Therefore, they can be held liable when their actions provide a negative outcome.
Various immunities against liable suits have been eliminated or limited by the courts. There is a rule of law which states that all individuals and entities must be subject to the same treatment under the law. According to that rule, no person should enjoy immunity from liability in cases which involve a negative outcome. That rule of law means that all people and entities are subjected to the same rules of responsibility that govern actions which result in a negative outcome.
In most cases, the government can not be subjected to liability questions in tort cases. Governmental immunities apply on the local, state and Federal level. For example, a person that gets injured on public property, is unable to sue the government for those injuries. However, an individual employee can be sued, if they failed to complete their duties in the proper an expected manner. Governmental immunity is in place to prevent citizens from taking part in frivolous lawsuits against the government.
In addition, taxpayers money should theoretically not be used in order to settle lawsuits against the government. There are cases in which governments waive immunity and can in fact, be subjected to questions of liability. However, the circumstances in which that occurs are vary rare.
Infant immunity is sometimes granted to minors accused of being liable. Tort cases against minors are only valid if the minor was able to understand the consequences of their actions. If for example, the minor is of an age at which they do not have the mental capacity for that understanding, they would be granted infant immunity. Even if a minor is granted infant immunity, the parent of guardian of that child could be found liable.
For example, a babysitter charged with supervising a child, could be found liable if that child causes injury to another through their actions. Even if the child could not understand the possible negative outcome of their actions, the babysitter was meant to be protecting that child and preventing them from any actions that could have a negative outcome. Parents and guardians can usually be held liable, but they can only be liable for a judgement that falls below a certain threshold.