Imagine running your errands on an average day without knowing that it’ll be fateful when you must contemplate suing the government for your tragic slip-and-fall injuries on their property.
Your slip-and-fall incident may have occurred in government-owned and -maintained locations such as offices or buildings, public sidewalks, libraries and parks. If you’re strong-willed to pursue a personal injury claim, you must know that there are varying processes, timelines and awards for each government level involved in your case.
Florida’s sovereign immunity law
As much as you’re determined to file a lawsuit, it won’t be as straightforward as you hoped. Sovereign immunity prevents an average citizen from suing U.S. state or federal governments for monetary damages in negligence-based personal injury claims. However, this legal protection differs per state.
Under Florida’s statutes, you may only file a lawsuit against the state government if their employee’s actions led to your injuries. In the most catastrophic cases, even death is possible. But the state’s waiver includes three limitations:
- Damage caps: $200,000 against a government agency and $300,000 for multiple government agencies. If you believe you deserve more than these specified amounts, you may file a petition to request more damages.
- Intent: You may not hold any state employee liable unless their actions were committed maliciously, in bad faith or caused human rights infringement.
- Punitive damages: You cannot collect punitive damages on top of your compensatory damages.
Further, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) adds another level of complexity. Before filing an administrative claim, you must first assess if your situation is permissible under the FTCA guidelines. If your situation applies and you have adequate proof to support your claim, you must ensure filing it on time. Florida’s statute of limitations specifies that you have four years since your slip-and-fall accident. After which, the FTCA allows six months for the government agency to either agree to or refuse your claim.
Addressing legal adversities
With extraordinarily complex laws under consideration, it will be too overwhelming to tackle the process on your own. You would not want to risk missing deadlines and misinterpreting important government statutes. You may seek the help of a legal counsel who could ease your worries and help you receive a fair judgment for your personal injury claim.