Suing the Government in Florida
You were walking across the street, making sure to look both ways. You had the walk signal and the right of way. Nevertheless, a county vehicle driven by a county employee in a hurry blows past a red light and makes a left turn straight into you at a high rate of speed. The next thing you know, you wake up in a hospital bed covered in a plaster cast from head to toe with little to no recollection of what occurred to you. Once you are finally discharged after months in the hospital and which involved learning how to walk again and drinking your meals through a straw, you are faced with millions of dollars in medical bills and other losses. This is not even counting the lost wages and other damages, future medical care and the pain and suffering that you are entitled to under Florida law for your injuries suffered as a result of the county employee’s negligence. The bad news for you as the victim of someone’s negligence is that it was a governmental vehicle driven by a governmental employee that hit you acting in the course of his or her employment. Therefore, and despite the horrific injuries you suffered and the millions of dollars in medical bills and other damages that you suffered and will continue to suffer for the rest of your life as a result of your injuries, there are certain special procedures that you will have to go through in suing the government in Florida to pursue your personal injury claim and there are damage caps that will apply to the amount of damages that you can ultimately be awarded in court against the governmental entity.
However, this need not be the end of the story. If you have a skilled personal injury attorney representing you like the experienced Florida personal injury attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley, then we know the ways that we can ensure that our clients, particularly those who have suffered injuries at the hands of a state, county or local government employee, can be fully compensated for their injuries suffered as a result of that government employee’s negligence. We look at other parties that may potentially be at fault in the scenario and we do not hesitate to hold them responsible in order to ensure that our client recovers his or her full damages, regardless of who that recovery comes from.
Suing the Government in Florida
When suing the government in Florida, there are special rules you have to follow and special caps that apply to the amount of damages you can recover against a government entity, The state and its various subdivisions (counties, municipalities, etc.) have waived what is known as sovereign immunity (a legal term for the right of the government not to be sued unless it consents to be sued) in order to allow those who have been injured by the actions of government employees who were acting in the course of their jobs to sue the applicable governmental entity.
The first thing that you or your attorney acting on your behalf are required to do is give notice to the governmental entity. This means that you must contact the relevant Florida governmental entity within three years of the incident in which you were injured and present your claim in writing. The governmental agency or subdivision then has 180 days to investigate your claim and either accept it and negotiate a settlement or else deny it, at which point you then are free to file suit. There are special caps for claims against governmental entities in Florida, which are $200,000 per person per incident or $300,000 if you have multiple claims arising from the same incident. Therefore, in the scenario above, even if you took your case against the local county to a jury and the jury awarded you $2,500,000, the county would only be required to pay you $200,000 of that amount.
So What Do I Do if I Have Been Injured by the Negligence of a Government Employee?
At that point, your only recourse may sometimes be to hope the Florida Legislature potentially may take pity on you and pass a special bill that appropriates the money to pay the portion of the jury’s verdict over and above the $200,000 cap, or $2,300,000. However, this is very rare. Nevertheless, at this point, not all hope is lost if you have a skilled attorney representing you. An experienced personal injury attorney like the attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley can figure out how to potentially sue other parties that may be responsible in order to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries. For example, in the scenario, maybe the walk signal and the traffic signal were miscalibrated by a private company that manufactured those lights, in which case we would also seek to hold them responsible for your injuries to ensure you are fully compensated. Or perhaps there is another driver that was racing to beat the light behind the county employee who may have been negligently pressuring them to run the red light who can also be held responsible for your injuries. When it comes to ensuring that our clients receive full compensation for their injuries, we are not afraid to think outside of the box and be creative.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley
When you or a loved one suffers a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, even if that someone is a state, county or local government employee whose negligence on the job caused your injuries, you need legal assistance you can depend on to help you in suing the government in Florida to recover maximum compensation for those injuries. The experienced, skilled Florida personal injury lawyers at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. are adept at handling even the most complex personal injury claims. Our attorneys have more than 150 years of combined experience in personal injury litigation, including working with clients who have suffered all different sorts of injuries in all different sorts of scenarios, whether it be a motor vehicle or truck accident or a slip and fall. We do everything we can to ensure our clients receive the maximum compensation for their injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. Call us today at 877.694.6079 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.