Personal injury cases involving police car collisions present unique challenges to individuals in the State of Florida. When a police car is involved in an accident, the government entity may be held liable for any damages or injuries that result from the collision under certain circumstances. However, pursuing a lawsuit after a car accident with a governmental entity or vehicle requires a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s complex negligence laws. This can make it difficult for individuals to navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation they deserve. In this article, we will explore the challenges of pursuing a personal injury case involving police car accidents in Florida, and provide guidance on what to expect when handling such a complex legal issue.
When Can A Government Entity Be Held Liable in Florida?
Under Florida Statute Section 768.28, which waives the right to immunity from liability under specific circumstances, individuals can file a claim against the State, including its agencies and subdivisions. There are specific stipulations here, though, which include:
1. The injury must be caused by negligence or a wrongful act or omission. Police car accidents fit into this category if negligence can be proven on the part of the police officer.
2. If the claimant’s losses/damages are compensable with money (this is most negligent-based cases).
3. When the law sees that the negligent party would have been liable as a private party (a citizen, rather than as a government agency or employee).
If an individual can establish that a government entity, such as a police officer, acted negligently which caused harm, then they can file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation from the government.
Limitations: Liability, & Caps on Damages
In contrast to a typical personal injury lawsuit against a private individual, there are several limitations when filing against a government entity in Florida.
- Unless the harm is found to be intentional, a government entity, in this case a police officer, cannot be held personally liable for the harm. This means that the claim must be filed against the government body or agency that employs them.
- In Florida, each jurisdiction has its own set of rules and regulations surrounding protection. For instance, in some jurisdictions, the law may provide immunity to police officers involved in police car collisions that occur during the apprehension or pursuit of a suspect. This means that individuals may not be able to hold the officer liable for any damages or injuries that result from the collision. The purpose of this immunity is to protect police officers from legal action when they are performing their duties in good faith. However, this immunity is not absolute, and there are situations where an officer may be held liable for damages. For example, if the officer acted recklessly or intentionally caused the collision, they may be liable for any resulting damages.
Caps on Damages
- Florida's government has a cap on damages in legal cases, which is limited to $200,000. However, if the lawsuit is against multiple state entities, then the total compensation cannot exceed $300,000. This means that even if you are awarded a higher amount in a police car accident lawsuit, you will not be able to receive more than the set limit. This is an important consideration for anyone filing a lawsuit against the government in Florida, as they will need to factor in these limitations when seeking compensation.
- In legal cases against the Florida government, punitive damages or any interest that has accumulated before the judgment cannot be awarded. This means that even if you are entitled to compensation, you won’t receive any additional amount as punishment for the government's actions. Additionally, any interest that has accrued prior to the judgment will not be factored into the compensation awarded.
It is essential to understand the specific rules and regulations in your jurisdiction when pursuing a personal injury case involving a police car collision. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex legal issues and determine if you have a viable case. An attorney can also help you understand the limits and requirements of filing a claim against a government entity, and ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines and procedures.
What To Expect When Filing a Claim Against a Police Officer in Florida
In the state of Florida, there are stringent notice laws and filing deadlines that must be adhered too. After a police car accident, here is what to expect when filing a claim:
1. You must inform the concerned state agency (along with the Department of Financial Services) about the claim, in writing, within 3-years of the incident.
2. Moreover, no lawsuit can be initiated until after a 180-day investigation period, unless the claim is rejected. It is advisable to mail a letter describing the date, facts, and losses or use one of the claim forms available from the Florida Division of Risk Management. It is important to note that the notice of claim must be provided on paper, as an emailed notice will not be acceptable.
3. Similarly, if you are injured by a county or municipal agency or employee, the process for claims is similar. You must send notice to the local government department that handles the claims.
Have You Been Injured In a Police Car Accident? Contact Us Today!
If you have been involved in a police car collision and suspect that the police officer was negligent, it is critical to seek legal representation from experienced attorneys. The aftermath of a police car accident can be overwhelming and confusing, and you may be facing serious injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. At Frank Eidson, our team of attorneys have extensive experience in handling police car accident cases and can provide you with the guidance and support you need during this difficult time. We understand the complexities of these types of cases and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Don't hesitate to contact us today at 407-245-2887, to schedule a free, no obligation case review, and to learn more about how we can help you with your police car accident case.