In Florida, there is a limit on the amount of money that you can get if you are injured or damaged by a government employee or the government. When I use the word “government” in this article, I am referring to a governmental entity for a city, county or the State of Florida. I am not referring to claims against the Federal Government. The most that a governmental entity in Florida has to pay an injured person is $200,000.
You are driving your car and a Miami-Dade county bus hits you in the rear. Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) will pay some of your medical bills and lost wages. Since you were hit by a government mass transit vehicle, you do not have to prove that you have a permanent injury in order to recover money for pain and suffering.
Because you were involved in a rear end crash, let’s assume that the bus is at fault for this accident.
You fracture your hip and need to have hardware (metal screws and plates) put in your hip. A doctor states that you will need a hip replacement in the future. Since you are badly injured, the value of your damages is most likely more than $200,000. Even though your case is probably worth more than $200,000, the most that Miami-Dade County has to pay you is $200,000. The good news is that you can make a claim against any available uninsured motorist coverage at that the same time that you set up a claim with the county.
If there is more than one claim for the same incident, the most that the state or its agencies may be liable for is $300,000.
You are driving your car and a Miami-Dade county police car hits you in the rear. The police car’s sirens or lights were not on. Let’s assume that the police officer is 100% at fault for this accident. You fracture your hip and need to have hardware (metal screws and plates) put in your hip. A doctor states that you will need a hip replacement in the future. Because of the seriousness of your injuries, the value of your damages could be equal to or more than $200,000.
A passenger in your car has a tibial plateau fracture and has metal (hardware) put in his or her leg. The value of the passenger’s case is probably more than $200,000. Even though your combined cases are probably worth more than $300,000, the most that Miami-Dade County has to pay to the both of you – in total – is $300,000.
You can each make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage – in your auto insurance – at that the same time that you set up a claim with the county. The passenger can also make a claim against the driver’s uninsured motorist coverage.
Even if more than one governmental entity is responsible for your injury, the most that you can get is still $200,000.
Wrongful Death – Survivor and Estate are Separate Claimants
If a family member is killed by a governmental entity, the survivors may be able to get up to $200,000 and the Estate may be able to collect up to $200,000, but in no event can the combined amount be greater than $300,000. Gerard v. Department of Transportation., 472 So. 2d 1170 (Fla.1985). You only have 2 years to file a claim against a governmental entity for wrongful death or medical malpractice claim in Florida.
If the Department of Financial Services or the appropriate agency fails to make final disposition (decision) of a claim within 90 days after it is filed, it is considered a denial and you can then sue them. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions and wrongful death actions is stopped for the period of time taken by the Department of Financial Services or the appropriate agency to deny the claim.
Your husband is a passenger on a bus in Broward County or any city in Florida. The bus driver is not paying attention and he crashes the bus into a car and your husband is killed in the accident. It is determined that the bus driver was 100% at fault. Since your spouse was killed in an accident caused by someone else, you have a right to recover damages. The Estate also has a right to recover damages. The most that the Estate can recover is $200,000 and the most that you, as a survivor can get is $200,000.
The combined amounts cannot be greater than $300,000. So, you could possibly get $200,000 and the Estate could get $100,000. In no event could you get $200,000 as a survivor and the Estate get $150,000. This is because the combined amounts would be greater than $300,000, which would exceed the cap for multiple claims against a governmental entity.
Child’s claim for injuries and his parent’s claim for medical expenses
An injured child can claim up to $200,000 for his or her injuries, and the parent can claim up to $200,000 for medical expenses for her child’s treatment. But, the governmental entity does not have to pay more than $300,000 for both claims.
Your child is a passenger in a truck in Fort Lauderdale or any city in Florida, and a Broward County bus runs a red light and hits the truck. Assume that the bus is 100% at fault. Your child has surgery on his or her fractured wrist and has a metal plate and screws inserted. Assume that your child’s medical bills are $150,000. Let’s assume that your child’s pain and suffering is worth $170,000.
The most that the Broward County would have to pay you is $300,000. This is true even though your child’s case and the medical expenses add up to more than $300,000. Because of the large settlement involving a child, this settlement will require court approval and most likely a guardianship of the property will probably need to be setup.
In one of my personal injury settlements, I settled a case for $210,000 where my client fell off of a booth at a restaurant in Miami, Florida. One of my car accident settlements was for $200,000. My my client had wrist surgery as a result of another car running a red light in Miami, Florida and hitting her car.
Were you injured in an accident? I want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida.
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