The sovereign immunity doctrine in Florida bars lawsuits in state court against a state government, as well as its agencies and subdivision, absent governmental consent. Although proponents of this theory say it allows for governmental discretion by allowing officials to engage in flexible decision-making without risk of liability and protects public funds, opponents say it fails to discourage wrong-doing and leaves injured parties with no viable remedy.
Florida’s waiver of sovereign immunity is outlined in F.S. 768.28, a lengthy and complex statute that allows for various stipulations on suing the government or government employees for negligence. Even if you win, your damage award will be capped at $200,000 a person and $300,000 total per claim (no matter how many claimants), unless the state legislature passes a bill that allows for a higher amount in any given case. This doesn’t mean it’s never worthwhile to pursue compensation from a government agency or worker if you’re injured owing to their negligence, but it’s important to understand there will be a number of challenges, which is why hiring an experienced Orlando injury attorney is so critical.
A recent case considered by the Georgia Supreme Court considered a wrongful death claim involving the tragic death of a student engaged in horseplay in an unsupervised classroom. His parents alleged it was the result of negligence in whole or in part of the teacher who left the room. However, the teacher was a governmental employee, and as such, the question of official immunity was raised. Continue reading →