During the formation of our country, the founding fathers did not provide a mechanism for citizens to hold the federal, state, and local governments liable for injuries caused by government actors, unless the government being named as a defendant agreed to be named in the lawsuit. In fact, governments were then, and still are to some extent, presumed to be immune from tort liability. However, since then, state and federal lawmakers have passed a series of laws known as tort claims acts, which statutorily waive government immunity in certain circumstances.
Generally, a tort claims act requires that certain procedures be followed in order for the government to waive its immunity. The State of Florida is no different. Under the Florida Tort Claims Act (FTCA), if a Florida accident victim fails to comply with the requirements of the FTCA, the accident victim’s case will be dismissed. Thus, it is very important that an accident victim ensure that they follow all the requirements of the FTCA.
A recent case illustrates the strict manner in which courts apply the requirements of a tort claims act.
The plaintiff was injured in a car accident with a Georgia police officer. The plaintiff believed that the police officer was at fault for the accident, and thus filed a claim with the city seeking compensation for her injuries.
Pursuant to the Georgia Tort Claims Act, the plaintiff provided the city with the time, date, and location of the accident, as well as her description of why the police officer was negligent. The plaintiff asked for “full recovery” allowable by law, “including, but not limited to, damages for past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, and past and future lost wages.”
The city asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case as a result of her failure to comply with the tort claims act. Under the state’s tort claims act, an accident victim must provide a “specific amount of monetary damages” that she is seeking. The city argued that the plaintiff’s general request for “full recovery” did not comply with the requirement.
The plaintiff presented the argument that she substantially complied with the statute by providing a general request for damages. However, the court disagreed, explaining that the purpose of requiring a specific dollar amount is so that the defendant city could use that figure as a starting point for settlement negotiations. Here, the court noted, the plaintiff’s request for “full recovery” did not provide the city with any meaningful dollar amount on which to begin negotiations.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Vehicle Accident?
If you or your loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident involving a government employee, it is possible that you are entitled to monetary compensation. It is important to realize, however, that your case may be subject to additional requirements. The dedicated Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling all types of Florida car accident cases, including those naming government defendants. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyers.
More Blog Posts:
Court Discusses “Coming-and-Going” Rule as It Pertains to Employer Liability, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 19, 2018.
Jury Holds Railroad Company Liable for Fatal Train Accident, Court Upholds $10.4 Million Verdict, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 8, 2018.