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.