“Agencies” refer to counties, municipalities and villages. An example of a county is Miami-Dade County. An example of a municipality is the City of Coral Gables. An example of a village is the Village of Pinecrest.
Florida Statute 768.28(1) applies to tort claims that are based on negligence and wrongful acts or omissions.
An example of a tort claim based on negligence is when a bus driver causes an accident.
If a Miami-Dade county bus driver rear ends your car and you are injured, you have a bodily injury liability case against Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County buses have a video camera – that records (video and audio) – of the passengers on the bus. Your Personal Injury Protection insurance (PIP) will apply.
You could bring a bodily injury case (for pain, suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, etc.) against Miami-Dade County without needing to exceed the no-fault threshold. This is because the county bus is not a “motor vehicle” and is not entitled to the benefit of the threshold defense. Scherzer v. Beron, 455 So.2d 441 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984).
If you are a passenger on the bus and the bus driver is at fault for causing an accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will not apply. This is because a person injured while occupying a vehicle which is not a “motor vehicle” (motorcycle, city bus) does not have to pierce the threshold to recover for noneconomic loss (pain and suffering, etc.).
You also automatically have a case under any uninsured motorist coverage in any auto insurance policy of which you are considered an insured. You should immediately make a claim for damages under any available uninsured motorist coverage to which you are an insured. This is because a county vehicle in Florida is considered “uninsured” for purposes of the claimant making an uninsured motorist claim.
Intentional Injuries by Government Employee
If an employee of a city or a county in Florida intentionally injured you, the government is responsible. So if a Miami-Dade county police officer commits assault and battery on you during an arrest, Miami-Dade County is responsible for your injuries. The same answer would apply if you were beaten by a City of Miami police officer.
If you have soft tissue injuries from this assault and battery, your case may not be worth the amount of money that it takes to file a lawsuit, which is currently $401.
But if an employee of the county or city injured you, and the employee was acting outside of the scope of his employment, the government is not responsible for your injuries and the employee if responsible. It is generally better for your case if a county or city employee injured you and he or she was in the scope of his employment at the time of your incident.
This is because there is a greater likelihood that the city, county, or State of Florida has the money to pay your injuries as opposed to a private individual. If someone does not have the money to pay your case, then you won’t be able to get any money.
If you an employee of a city, county or State of Florida injures you, the amount of money that you may get is limited by Florida Statute 768.28(5). Currently, the most that the city, county, or State of Florida has to pay is $200,000 to any one person and $300,000 for any one incident or accident.
If one of your co-workers – at the State, city or county in Florida – injures you, most of the time your only case is through Workers Compensation. An exception would be if an employee of another agency injures you, then you do have a personal injury case and a workers compensation case.
For example, let’s assume that you are working for the City of South Miami police department and a driver for the Broward County Sheriff’s office (BSO) crashes into your car and you are injured. In this case, you have both a workers compensation case and a case against the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. This is because you and the person that caused your injuries have different employers.
There are other exceptions where you may be able to sue your employer, such as the “unrelated works doctrine” or suing for an intentional act.
Did the State of Florida or one of its agencies’ carelessness cause your injury? Were you injured in another type of accident?
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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