Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Government in Florida?
In Florida, the state and its agencies are liable for tort claims in the same manner and to the same extent as private individuals under like circumstances, meaning that the legislature has explicitly waived sovereign immunity in tort actions for personal injury, wrongful death, etc.
Are there any Limitations?The waiver of sovereign immunity in Florida is limited. It applies to injury or loss of property, personal injury, or death caused by the negligent or wrongful acts or omission of any employee of the agency or subdivision while acting within the scope of the employee’s office or employment. This means that waivers do not apply to actions of an employee occurring outside the scope of the employee’s office or employment.
Damage CapsThere is a statutory limit on liability. Neither the state nor its entities can be liable to pay a claim or a judgment by any one person which exceeds $200,000 or any claim or judgment, or portions thereof, which, when totaled with all other claims and judgments paid by the state or its agencies or subdivisions arising out of the same incident or occurrence, exceeds $300,000. Florida law provides that a personal injury claim may not be brought against the state or one of its agencies or subdivisions unless the plaintiff presents the claim in writing to the appropriate agency within 3 years after such claim accrues. The claim accrues when the injury occurs, and the damage is sustained. The purpose of the notice requirement is to provide the State and its agencies sufficient notice of claims filed against them and time to investigate and respond to those claims. An action may not be instituted until the Department of Financial Services (DFS) or the appropriate agency denies the claim in writing.