Earlier this month, the Florida State legislature approved a settlement with the family of a teen who was crushed when the branch of a city-owned tree fell on top of him. Thankfully, the boy lived, although he was permanently paralyzed as a result of the incident. According to one local news source, the family’s settlement was hung up for several months in the State Legislature while it was waiting to be approved.
In Florida, there is a limit on the amount of money a person can receive from a government entity in a personal injury lawsuit. However, the legislature does have the ability to grant an exception to this limit when all the parties agree that there should be a higher amount paid out to an individual.
In this case, the city council was on board with the settlement award. Indeed, the city immediately accepted responsibility for the accident, acknowledging that the tree had rotted out and that the city had received numerous complaints from neighbors but had not yet removed the tree.
Eventually, all the necessary parties agreed, and the cap was lifted in this specific case. The family of the teen will now receive roughly $3.5 million to help compensate them for home repairs that will make access easier for their son, for the medical bills that accrued while their son was in the hospital, and for his continued treatment.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Government Entities
Generally speaking, when a personal injury lawsuit is filed against a government entity, different rules apply than if the allegedly negligent party was a regular citizen. It may be that the government entity is claiming immunity from suit, or, as was the case above, it may be that the damages available are significantly limited. In either case, recovery may be possible if the proper steps are taken and rules followed.
In the case above, the city admitted fault, so the issue of sovereign immunity was not present. However, in most Florida car accidents involving a government employee, the government will assert its sovereign immunity as a defense to the lawsuit. The doctrine of sovereign immunity states that a government agency or entity cannot be held liable for a tort unless they consent to be sued. However, as with most other rules of law, there are exceptions. For example, when reckless or grossly negligent conduct is alleged, sovereign immunity may not apply. To learn more about when a government entity can be sued, contact a Florida personal injury attorney.
Have You Been Injured While on Government Land or in a Government Accident?
If you have been injured while on government-owned land, or you were injured in an automobile accident and believe that a government official or employee may be responsible, you may have a case against the appropriate entity. However, there are likely many issues that will arise, potentially thwarting your attempts. To ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process, and to gain a better understanding of what you will need to prove to succeed, contact one of the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the Dean Firm at 352-387-8700.
More Blog Posts:
Deerfield Beach Accident Involving Car and Pick-Up Truck Kills One Child, Injures Several Others, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 15, 2015.
Walgreen’s Pharmacy Facing Several Claims of Pharmacy Errors, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 18, 2015.