In any injury lawsuit against the government, there are a number of legal protections afforded those entities that can make these cases challenging.
One of the strongest legal defenses for emergency responders is the public duty doctrine. It’s a principle of personal injury law that holds government owes its duty of care to the public at-large, not individuals. So individuals could only prevail in these injury cases if they could show some special relationship existed, and not simply that the agency had breached a duty to the general public (i.e., “a duty to all is a duty to no one”).
Florida has not recognized the public duty doctrine since 2001, following the passage of F.S. 768.28, which spells out the waiver of sovereign immunity in tort actions. Now, Illinois joins the growing number of states to abolish the public duty doctrine, after a divided decision in Coleman v. E. Joliet Fire Prot. Dist. Continue reading →