Suing a Florida City or Municipality

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2016 | Personal Injury

You likely already know your rights when it comes to suing another person or your employer. However, you might not realize that you can also sue your state or a municipality. That’s right. Just as individuals, employers and medical professionals can be sued when they are deemed negligent or unsafe; the state of Florida or municipalities within the state can also be sued. There are some differences though between suing a state and filing a common personal injury claim. Before getting into the specifics of how to sue your state of Florida, let’s look at some of the most common reasons behind personal injury suits.

Common Suits Made Against Cities

  • Car Accident Cases: Most personal injury suits are a result of a car accident. Usually, the suit comes about because a driver was driving carelessly, dangerously or not properly following the rules of the road. When a city employee is involved in the wreck, this is where a suit might come about against a state or city.
  • Slip And Fall Cases: Another commonly seen personal injury suit is a slip and fall case. This type of accident can occur virtually anywhere. If falls occur because of a city’s negligence in keeping up sidewalks for example, this could be a reason a state or city is sued.

Florida Laws With Regard to Filing Personal Injury Suits

Now that we have outlined the most common accidents behind personal injury suits, let’s look at how these relate to the state of Florida or a municipality within its borders. When suing a state, there are requirements that aren’t present in cases when a victim is suing a business or individual.

Regulations That Change When Suing a State

  • There is a Shorter Statute of Limitations:In all personal injury cases, there is a statute of limitations. This means you have a certain amount of time between when an accident takes place and when you sue for whatever injury occurred as a result of said incident. In common personal injury cases against companies or individuals, you as a victim will typically have up to four years to file a lawsuit. When suing a state or municipality, city or county, your time to act is reduced. In Florida, you have three years from the time an accident occurs to place the appropriate agencies on notice.
  • Governments Are Immune From Certain Types of Personal Injury Claims:When suing a municipality or government, there can be limits on the types of personal injury claims you can make. For example, the following are examples of limitations or exemptions for suits in the state of Florida:
    • When suing the government of Florida, you cannot recoup damages or interest that accrued before your case was finalized.
    • The amount of damages you can be awarded are limited to $200,000.
    • The state can appeal the resolution in your case.
    • Employees of the state of Florida’s government cannot be held personally liable for harm. The exception is a government employee who causes harm intentionally.
    • If you are suing a state university, the legal action must be brought in the county where the campus is located.
  • Personal Injuries Cases You Can File Against Florida:
    • If you are harmed by the government or government employee, you can file a personal injury claim against a state agency if the following is true:
    • The action of the negligent party would be applicable in a personal injury suit against a private party, this is usually a situation where suing a city for negligence is possible.
    • If you losses can be rectified with an amount of money, you can likely sue the state of Florida. This is the most common type of suit against state governments.
    • Your injury was caused by the omission, wrongful act or negligence of a government employee or government. For example, medical negligence or vehicle accidents, like was mentioned above.
  • You Have to Serve Notice:If you are suing the state of Florida or a municipality, you must put the state agency that is involved in the case on notice. According to the Division of Risk Management, this notice should be in writing and must be issued within three years of the accident or incident that caused your injury.  Your notice should describe in concise and clear language the losses you suffered, the facts about your accident and the date it occurred. Also, you cannot file a lawsuit too soon. You have to wait at least 180 days after your notice to file a lawsuit.

Examples of Applicable Incidents

  • City sidewalk in disrepair leading to an accident.
  • State employee negligent actions, which leads to an accident.
  • City bus causing a vehicle accident.
  • A slip and fall within a government building, leading to injury.

Suing a state like Florida works much like suing an individual. Governments and municipalities must ensure their sidewalks, roadways and buildings are safe enough for pedestrians. If you are injured due to the negligence of your state or a state employee, you could have the makings of a valid personal injury case against your state government or one of its agencies. Contact us today at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC today to find out more about how you could receive compensation.

Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for 4 years.