Establishing Liability Following Accidents on Florida Public Property

Slip and fall accidents can occur virtually anywhere and often have a lifelong impact on the victim. Florida premises liability lawsuits can be challenging, but accidents that occur on public property are inherently more complex. Some common examples of defective or dangerous conditions on public property are slippery surfaces, uneven sidewalks, insufficient lighting, hazardous pedestrian areas, and unsafe stairways. These conditions can exist around public libraries, government buildings, courthouses, and city playgrounds. When an individual suffers injuries of this nature, they should retain a dedicated Florida injury attorney to understand their rights and remedies.

Generally, under Florida tort law, a person or entity can be liable for injuries that result because of their negligence. However, when the negligent party is a government agency or employee, the victim may not have any recourse due to government immunity laws. Government immunity prohibits individuals from suing a state or its employees for civil damages. However, there are some notable exceptions to this doctrine.

Florida’s sovereign immunity statute allows for lawsuits against government entities in specific situations. However, even in these situations, Florida victims must abide by the statute’s strict rules to prevent dismissal. Typically, Florida courts will only hear negligence cases filed within the four-year statute of limitations. However, the statute of limitations in government negligence lawsuits is three-years. Moreover, before a victim files a lawsuit, they must notify the Florida Department of Financial Services. A lawsuit is appropriate only after the state denies the claim or fails to reply. Further, generally, a plaintiff’s damages cannot exceed $200,000 per incident.

For example, a recent case highlights the type of complexities that may arise in lawsuits against government entities. In that case, three children were killed on Halloween when a speeding driver crossed into a pedestrian crossing and fatally hit them. The families filed a lawsuit against the city alleging that the crosswalk was a dangerous condition. The lawsuit met the state’s government immunity exception; however, the court ultimately ruled in favor of the city. The court found that the plaintiffs did not establish that the crosswalk was dangerous or that condition triggered any duty on the city.

In Florida, sidewalks are not necessarily considered “public,” and therefore, the government is not always responsible for accidents that occur because of their defective condition. In these cases, victims should consult an attorney to determine who is responsible for the sidewalk and what that responsibility entails.

Have You Been Injured on Public Property in Florida?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries on public property in Florida, you should contact the injury attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. Our Florida premises liability attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of complex personal injury lawsuits. Government liability lawsuits pose inherent challenges to victims, and it is crucial to have a zealous advocate to represent your interests. The attorneys at our law firm can help you understand your rights and potential remedies. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. This compensation may include amounts for past and future medical expenses, property damage, as well as for any pain and suffering you suffered as a result of the accident. Contact us today at 877-448-8585 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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