Can You Sue the State of Florida for Negligence?
Sometimes, individuals are injured by the negligent conduct of city or state employees. Can these individuals sue the city or state for their injuries? The following article will provide a specific example of a public safety hazard in Fort Lauderdale and discuss whether it is acceptable for private citizens to sue the state of Florida in cases of alleged negligence.
Neighborhood Safety Hazards in Fort Lauderdale
A Fort Lauderdale resident was very narrowly injured by a falling utility pole, which also had a transformer attached to it. The pole was installed by the AT&T company back in the 1950’s was being utilized by Florida Power & Light. The pole had suffered major damage stemming from decades of neglect and snapped at the base, causing it to topple over. Residents had complained about the pole for several years, asserting that it was an accident waiting to happen because it rotted at the top and bottom and had birds living in its center. Florida Power & Light reported that there was nothing it could do to replace the AT&T-owned pole until the pole collapsed. Residents have reported similar rotted utility poles in the neighborhood and have stressed their concerns that these poles will present a very dangerous situation during the upcoming hurricane season.
Suing the State of Florida for Negligence
Had the Florida woman in the previous example been injured by the falling utility pole, she may have had a successful negligence claim against the state of Florida. Of course, she would also probably have a stronger case against AT&T. However, the state would also likely face some liability for her injuries.
Florida Statute 768.28 provides guidelines regarding lawsuits against the state of Florida. Specifically, a person who is injured by the state government or a government employee may file suit against the state and seek compensation if:
- The injury was caused by negligence, a wrongful act, or an omission on the part of the state government or government employee
- The claimant’s injuries or damages can be wholly compensated with money damages
- The circumstances are such that the negligent party would have been liable as a private party (rather than as a government agency or government employee)
This section also provides certain restrictions regarding these types of suits against the state. These include the following:
- Government employees cannot be held personally liable for harm unless the harm they caused was intentional. Instead, the government agencies these employees work for would be held liable
- Money damages resulting from suits against the state cannot exceed $200,000 (or $300,000 if the claim involves multiple state entities)
- Punitive damages are generally not awarded in cases against the state
Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim? Schedule a Consultation with a Fort Lauderdale Attorney
If you were recently injured and need help filing a lawsuit, please contact the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Rosen Injury Law, P.A. Firm. We can help you build a strong personal injury case and ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries.