Claims • Lowers annual contributions
• Avoids headline settlements
• Reduces drain on staff
Importance of the Immunity Defense
• Diverts fiscal resources
• Impacts reputation
• Places high demand on staff
Importance of the Immunity Defense
Relatively low frequency or number Yet make up 27% of all total cost. Often, using an immunity defense is not possible because of incomplete member documentation or preparation Understanding the Impact These claims were 5% of all pooled claims, Understanding the Impact Exponentially high severity or costs Over the last 5 years, these claims have had a dramatic impact. Average severity of claims where an immunity defense was not possible On average, these claims were 7X more severe than other claims. Understanding the Severity
Average severity of all pooled claims Understanding the Severity
$46,500,000 Understanding the Cost
Total Cost to Members Understanding the Cost $6,350,000 Total Defense Cost Total Indemnity Cost $25,300,000
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Take action to help your agency be smarter about risk management!

Take action to help your agency be smarter about risk management!

ReClaim is an important, data-informed initiative that embodies two concepts: First, developing a deep understanding of the claims that represent the greatest impact to members, including cost, reputation, and disruption. Second, building strategies to reduce these claims in the future.

Although these claims impact members differently, depending on each agency’s size and history, there is one common data point: For the liability program—the one program in which all California JPIA members participate—the top five claims have cost $85M over the last five years, or $17M shared annually by all members of the pool.

ReClaim is a simple idea, carried out in three overlapping steps:

  • Define potential claims by learning the nature of those that affect member agencies.
  • Educate member staff on specific actions necessary to manage those exposures.
  • Integrate those actions into member risk management strategies.

Carrying out this initiative will take effort. One of the primary goals of ReClaim is to impart in every member agency an understanding of these claims that will make this undertaking achievable.

Governmental Immunities

Governmental Immunity protects municipal agencies from tort lawsuits. Most governmental immunities addressed here fall within the category of qualified immunities, which protect local governments and their agents from liability only when certain conditions are in place.


Trail Immunity

Trail immunity, which applies to both paved and unpaved trails, protects public entities from liability for injuries caused by a condition of a recreational trail while promoting and encouraging public agencies to provide and maintain trails and recreational areas that are open to the public

  • Trail Immunity White Paper

    This white paper explains trail immunity, explores some of the key court cases interpreting the immunity, and outlines actions agencies can take to help establish and maintain the immunity.

  • Trail Maintenance and Inspection Checklist

    A maintenance checklist for noting and correcting deficiencies and making repairs on and around trails, including bridges, landscaping, and signs

  • Trail Immunity Session From 2021 Educational Forum

    A recording of a session from the Authority’s 2021 Risk Management Educational Forum, addressing elements of trail immunity, best practices for preserving trail immunity, when trail immunity applies, and more

Hazardous Recreation Activity Immunity

In order to encourage public entities to keep their land open and residents active, the California legislature limited the liability of public entities arising from injuries sustained in the course of certain recreational activities. Hazardous recreational activity immunity prevents recreational users who might injure themselves during hazardous, unsupervised activities from attributing their injuries to conditions of public property.

Design Immunity

The design immunity provides that a public entity is not liable for an injury caused by an improvement to public property in which the design and construction conformed to approved standards or was approved by the entity’s legislative body. Because roadway design cases represent the single greatest liability exposure for California JPIA members, the concept of the design immunity is invaluable, providing an opportunity to dismiss a member from a trial proceeding, thus saving costs in the form of attorney fees and eliminating the member’s exposure at an eventual trial.

  • Intersection/Roadway Design Accident Checklist

    A checklist detailing documents and data to gather in response to an accident in an agency’s jurisdiction

  • The Design Immunity White Paper

    Roadway design cases represent the single greatest liability exposure for California JPIA members.This white paper presents a discussion on the statutory and legislative background of the design immunity.

  • Applying the Design Immunity Defense

    This video from the Authority’s 2020 Virtual Educational Forum features Mike Wroniak and Christie Swiss explaining the design immunity defense, including the elements of the immunity, how to preserve the immunity, and the importance of maintaining documentation.

California JPIA