The State of Florida and its political subdivisions, such as cities and counties, have limited liability for damages caused by negligence of their employees, agents or volunteers acting within the scope of their employment under the Florida’s Sovereign Immunity Statute. First of all, governmental entities generally cannot be sued for performance or failure to perform their “discretionary” functions or duties, such as activities and decisions involving permissible exercise of judgment (e.g., planning activities, considerations of public policy, etc.). However, governmental entities do not enjoy immunity for negligence involving “operational” functions, such as carrying out plans, implementing policies.
For example, police officers have a lot of discretion when performing their duties and generally, they cannot not be sued for exercising their judgment in deciding whether to stop a traffic offender, to give a ticket, to use force, or to make and arrest. However, when a police department adopts certain policies and procedure on the use of force, high-speed police pursuit, or other activities, the police officer’s failure to comply with such procedures would be deemed an operational function.
Second, the governmental liability for negligence claims is limited to $200,000 per person, 300,000 per occurrence. If the injuries are truly catastrophic, Florida legislature must approve any settlement or judgment in excess of these limits through passage of a special law. Furthermore, attorney’s fees in claims against government are capped at 25%, regardless of whether the case settles pre-suit or in litigation.
Finally, there are strict statutory procedures that must be followed when filing a claim and lawsuit against a government entity in Florida.
A lot of government entities do not have separate insurance coverage for personal injury claims. For this reason, they are very tight in offering adequate financial compensation. Frequently, claims against government entities have to be litigated to obtain a fair settlement or a jury award. At Anna Handy Law Firm, P.A., we are aware of the limitations and strict statutory requirements that must be followed in pursing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a governmental entity. We can preserve your right to sue and prosecute your claim against a governmental entity to obtain the maximum financial recovery for your damages. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, please give us a call for a free non-obligation consultation. (386) 248-3000.