Many of our client’s are surprise to learn that anyone injured by the negligent actions of any employee of the State of Florida, any of its political subdivisions, including those employees of a County or City, is limited, regardless of how seriously they are injured, to a maximum recovery of $100,000.00. This limitation or cap, which applies to car accidents, slip and falls, and even medical malpractice occurring at a County run hospital, is known as sovereign immunity.
The Florida Legislature passed this law, known as Florida Statute section 768.28, to shield governments from paying for all of the damages caused by their employee’s negligence, while allegedly giving accident victims a source of recovery. Unfortunately, for Florida accident victims, especially those who are catastrophically injured, the $100,000.00 cap is woefully inadequate.
Only in the rarest of circumstances does the Florida Legislature entertain, much less pass, a “Claims Bill,” which may provide an accident victim with a greater recovery, only if the Legislature and the Governor enact a specific law to help a specifically injured person. Even when the governmental entity, which caused the catastrophic injury, wants to pay the accident victim more than the $100,000.00 cap, the victim must go through the difficult process of pursing a Claims Bill.
We represented an unfortunate boy who sustained a near drowning, resulting in him being in a coma and ultimately dieing. Despite the agreement of the school district responsible for his brain damage, to pay an increased amount, the Florida Legislature delayed our client’s recovery for more than 2 years.
We strongly believe this law and the procedures necessary to pursue claims against the government, needs to be changed.