April 21, 2010

Accident Victims Can Sue Florida For More Money

In what is being claimed as a victory for victims of personal injury caused by the negligence of employees of the State of Florida or any of its counties or cities, the Florida Legislature agreed to raise the sovereign immunity limits of compensation from $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 per person. This is the first increase of these limits in thirty years.

For too long, those who suffered severe and life altering injuries as a result of the negligence of sovereign employees, such as police officers and bus drivers who cause many car accidents due to careless driving, and doctors who commit malpractice at State funded hospitals, were limited in their recovery to the wholly inadequate sum of $100,000.00. Any additional damages required the legislature to pass a "claims bill," a process which places an undue burden, with little chance of success, upon the injured victim.

These new damage limits, assuming the Governor signs the bill into law, will go into effect for accidents occurring after October 2011. While these damage limits remain too low to adequate compensate those victims whose lives are turned upside down when a government employee carelessly disregards their obligations, at least the accident victims have an opportunity to receive some more compensation.

April 20, 2010

Injured Floridians Face Uphill Battle to Win Slip and Fall Cases

Much to the disappointment of personal injury attorneys throughout the State of Florida, and to the clear detriment of those injured when they slip and fall because of a business' negligence in failing to maintain their premises in a safe condition, the Florida Legislature recently turned the clock back to 2001, by enacting the law known as HB689.

The new law requires that the injured victim of a slip and fall prove that the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition which caused them to slip, and that the business should have taken some action to prevent the fall. This law places the burden upon the injured victim, rather than the business owner, who under Florida Law since 2001, had the burden on proving they maintained their floors in a safe condition.

While is generally impossible to prove that a business had actual knowledge of a dangerous condition, the law allows the victim to use circumstantial evidence to prove that the dangerous condition existed long enough so that the business should have known of it.

This law will require most slip and fall cases to be litigated, increase the expenses associated with such matters, and further congesting our already crowded court system. Yet another blow against the rights of innocent injured Floridians.