When someone is injured as a result of a government entity’s negligence, the injured party may be entitled to compensation. However, it is generally much more difficult to hold a government agency accountable for negligence than it is to collect compensation from a negligent individual. This is largely due to the existence of governmental immunity, which protects government entities and employees from suit. To overcome this immunity, injured parties must comply with specific procedural requirements that are not required in standard personal injury cases, so if you were injured in an accident that was caused by a government agency or its employee, it is critical to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can ensure that your claim is filed correctly.
Filing a Pre-Suit Notice
The Florida government is protected from suit by sovereign immunity. However, this immunity is waived when:
- The injury was the direct result of negligence or a wrongful act;
- The victim can be compensated for his or her losses financially; and
- The negligent agency or individual would have been liable under state law if it had been a private party.
However, even when these requirements are fulfilled, injured parties are still required to comply with additional procedural rules. For example, those who are injured in an accident involving a government agency are required to file a pre-suit notice with that agency within three years of the date of the accident. The notice must contain specific information about the incident, including where it took place, which parties were involved, details about the alleged acts of negligence, and what is being requested in the form of relief. If a notice does not meet these requirements or contains insufficient information, courts are permitted to dismiss the claim immediately. Finally, injured parties cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against an agency until it formally denies the claim, or has been given 180 days to investigate the matter and has not responded to the injured party’s notice.
Limits to Compensation
Even when all filing requirements are met, injured parties still face specific restrictions. Government employees, for example, cannot be held personally liable for injuries unless their actions were intentional. Otherwise, the injured party will need to file a claim against the government agency itself. Furthermore, the damages that can be collected by a person who was injured by a government body or its employee are capped at $200,000, although this amount is increased to $300,000 if the claim involves multiple agencies. Courts are also prohibited from awarding punitive damages in these types of cases.
Call our Personal Injury Legal Team Today
If you were injured in an accident with a government employee, or were the victim of agency negligence, please contact Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer who is familiar with state requirements on filing a claim against the government. We understand how stressful and painful it is to be involved in an accident and are eager to help you through every step of your case.