Accident with state owned vehicle: Can I sue?

Accident with state owned vehicle: Can I sue?

 If you have been injured by a state-owned vehicle, the idea of having to deal with a negligent driver and insurance company is going to be stressful. This stress will multiply when you are in a car accident involving a state-owned vehicle. And you may be asking who do I sue? The answer is not individual driver-employee of the state-owned vehicle but the government of Florida.


Typically, the doctrine of “sovereign immunity” applies to governments. Sovereign immunity prevents a government agency from being sued without their consent–and as you can imagine, a government is unlikely to ever consent to being sued.


But wait! There is good news. Article X Section 13 of the Florida Constitution permits a limited waiver of sovereign immunity in certain circumstances and these circumstances are codified in Florida Statute § 768.28.


The Statute allows actions of law against the state or any of its agencies to recover damages for injury or loss of property, personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employees of the state within the scope of employment. The main requirement here is that the employee has to be engaged in a work-related task. If the negligent act or omission causing injury occurs outside the scope of employment, an action cannot be brought.


Additionally the individual employee or officer of the state cannot be directly sued–the government itself is sued unless the employee or officer acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose. Additionally there are strict limits for recovery in a lawsuit against the state for negligent acts or omission of the government’s officers or employees. Typically, a plaintiff cannot recover more than $200,000 per person or $300,000 per incident, regardless of the severity of the injuries.


If you have been injured in an accident involving a state-owned vehicle, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she is familiar with the applicable Florida law and procedures of suing the government. Taking on the government for compensation of your injuries is difficult. Do not let the difficulty and the intimidating nature of the government stop you from getting the compensation you deserve.


Though the scope of recovery is limited, despite popular belief, you can sue the government for the negligent act of its employees. This is in fact your only option if you seek to recover for injuries because you cannot sue the employee or officer individually. While limited, the recovery will be better than none at all. Contact us today at 813-250-0000 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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