Pre-Suit Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Cases Naming Government Defendants

When someone is injured due to the negligence of a Florida government employee or entity, they may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Florida personal injury lawsuit. However, lawsuits that are filed against government defendants in Florida have certain additional requirements that must be met, or the accident victim risks the court dismissing their case before it is heard.

Drain CoverIn Florida, accident victims must file a pre-suit notice to the government agency that they are naming as a defendant. According to Florida Statutes section 768.28, state and local governments in Florida must be served with a pre-suit notice of a claim within three years of the accident. This notice must contain information about the accident, such as where it occurred, who was involved, the alleged acts of negligence, and what is being requested. If a pre-suit notice is not filed or is insufficient, a court may dismiss any subsequent lawsuit. A recent appellate court opinion out of Georgia details one plaintiff’s experience with an inaccurately drafted pre-suit notice.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when he stepped in an uncovered manhole while walking on a paved street in the defendant city. Initially, the plaintiff reported the hazard to the police department and provided the department with the address of 425 Chappell Road. The plaintiff explained to the police that the uncovered manhole was at the intersection of Chappell Road and Mayson Turner Road.

Later, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city, seeking compensation for his injuries. In the complaint, the plaintiff listed the address where the accident occurred as 239 Chappell Road. No intersection was provided in the complaint.

The city conducted a pre-trial investigation, attempting to look into the condition of the manhole where the plaintiff was allegedly injured. However, the city was unable to locate the manhole with the information provided. It was later determined that the actual address of the manhole was at 380 Chappell Road, approximately a half-mile away from the address listed in the complaint. Evidence presented by the city showed that there were 20 manholes between the location named in the plaintiff’s pre-suit notice and the actual location of the plaintiff’s fall.

The city filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case, based on the fact that the pre-suit notice failed to provide sufficient information about where the accident occurred, preventing the city from conducting an investigation. The court agreed, explaining that the requirements of a pre-suit notice are strictly set forth in the relevant statute, and without substantial compliance with the statute’s requirements, the plaintiff’s case must be dismissed.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience assisting South Florida accident victims with pursuing the compensation they deserve. We understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law and use that knowledge to give our clients an edge in pre-trial settlement negotiations and litigation. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Establishing Causation in South Florida Car Accidents, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 24, 2017.

Who Is Responsible in Florida When Someone Causes an Accident Using a Borrowed or Stolen Car?, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 10, 2017.

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