Can I Sue the State of Florida?
So, you’ve been injured by a state employee or a Florida State entity, and you want to know what your options may be for obtaining compensation? Well, the good news is that you can indeed file suit against the State of Florida. However, it is a bit more complicated. There are specific rules that apply when suing a government entity, and this even includes your local city and county governments. For more information, you should speak to a Kissimmee personal injury lawyer right away to make sure you do not miss any important deadlines.
Tort Immunity and the State of Florida
Under the law, the State generally has tort immunity. This is known as sovereign immunity against liability. However, under FLA STAT 768.28, Florida law waives that immunity in specific cases. Not all injuries are subject to this waiver, and many things are still completely prohibited from being brought as a lawsuit against the State. Nevertheless, here are the general rules for when you can bring such a claim:
- There must be a common law or statutory duty, meaning there must be some legally recognized duty on the part of the state.
- Liability is no different from if it were a private company or individual that caused the harm.
- Discretionary, planning, and political functions of government are immune from suit.
Examples of Claims You Can Bring
While it would be impossible to list all of the types of claims that may be brought against the State of Florida, here are just a few examples:
- Car accident caused by a DOT state worker
- Medical malpractice in a state-run health facility
- Slip and fall injury in a state building
- Negligently maintained railings and stairs in state-owned facility
Understanding the Common Duty of Care
One of the more difficult concepts for people to grasp is the common duty of care rule. In Florida, a state facility or employee will not be liable and cannot be sued unless there is a common duty. This simply means there is some requirement or obligation that was not met. For instance, if there is a defective railing on stairs at the local state building, and this causes someone to fall from a height and suffer injuries, then the question would be whether or not the State of Florida had a legal obligation or “duty” to maintain the building grounds, including the railing. In some cases, the State is absolutely required to do so. In some situations, a third-party local contractor may be used to maintain the property. In those situations, the State may not be responsible and may be immune from liability.
Shorter Statute of Limitations
When suing someone in Florida, the general time limit on negligence claims is 4 years from the date of the injury. However, this is where it is important to work with a knowledgeable injury lawyer. If you are suing the State of Florida, you only have only 3 years to do so. Further, you must wait at least 180 days after putting the state on notice before you can file suit, unless you receive a denial of your claim. In wrongful death claims, the time limit is further reduced to just 2 years from the date of the death. Finally, if you’re suing the Department of Corrections, you only have 1 year to give notice and up to 3 years to file suit.
As you can probably guess, when dealing with lawsuits against the government, not every attorney is well equipped to handle such actions. If you need aggressive and experienced legal representation, schedule a one-on-one free consultation with an attorney from Draper Law Office today.