Aside from the possibility of appeals, plaintiffs who sued government agencies must fight to collect on anything above $200,000 – even if the defendant agency agrees to pay it.
That’s because Florida lawmakers capped damages for all claims against the government or government employees at $200,000.
Of course, as anyone who has suffered a catastrophic injury knows, this is often not even enough to cover medical expenses. The only way for plaintiffs to actually receive that money is if a state legislator agrees to sponsor a bill and gets that measure passed by fellow lawmakers.
It’s not as uncommon or difficult as it sounds, but it’s certainly not a fast or simple task. That’s why it’s important to have a legal team not only with experience, but with roots in the community. In these cases, securing a win for clients means also enlisting the help of lawmaker.
Recently, more than a dozen accident victims were informed they will finally receive the payments the state promised for accidents stemming from the state’s own negligence. These outcomes show claims such as these are worth the fight.
As reported recently by the Sun-Sentinel, the cases range from children being struck by a bus to a young father being struck by a police cruiser.
In one case, two brothers, 10 and 12, were struck by a bus while walking to a local store. The 12-year-old managed to crawl out form underneath, despite a broken back. However, his younger brother was gone. The regional transportation authority conceded fault for the accident, which happened back in 2011 and even agreed to pay $3.2 million. However, that being far in excess of the $200,000 damages cap, state legislature approval was necessary.
For the last two years, no injury claims were furthered. Now, pending the governor’s signature, that family and 13 others will receive the payment they were promised by the state.
In another of the cases, a man who suffered severe injuries in 2002 when his pickup truck was struck head-on by a utility vehicle in Hollywood will finally receive the additional $100,000 he was promised to pay off his medical bills.
Another victim, a young mother, was killed in November 2004 when she boarded a bus that quickly sped up and then slammed the brakes before she sat down. As a result, she fell and struck her head, causing severe brain injuries. She died the next day. Now, her children will receive $940,000 for her wrongful death.
In another case, a motorcyclist who suffered horrific internal injuries and brain trauma will receive an additional $102,000 from the state, which conceded a county dump truck driver was negligent.
Another recipient is the mother of an 18-year-old who was a back seat passenger ejected from the vehicle when an on-duty police officer rear-ended the vehicle. The young man died at the scene and now, eight years later, his mother will receive an additional $200,000.
Also collecting damages is the family of a 67-year-old man who was struck and seriously injured by a school bus in Palm Beach County. He died three years later, and his family will now receive nearly $635,000 to cover his outstanding medical bills.
Another case involves a child who was born in 2009 at a state-run hospital. The mother was known to have gestational diabetes and despite the known complications, a nurse attempted to deliver the child with no doctor. As a result, the child suffers from permanent nerve damage in one arm. She will receive an additional payment of $400,000.
At a different state-run hospital, a man in his 40s was intubated too late and incurred severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen. He now requires around-the-clock care and will receive $2 million. A similar intubation mistake involving a 3-year-old girl in Miami has also resulted in a $700,000 award for her family.
All of these figures are tacked on to the maximum $200,000 that were already paid.
These cases can be incredibly complex, and state governments aren’t apt to concede liability in the first place. That’s why victims need a a dedicated, compassionate legal advocate who will battle for their rights from start to finish.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
After long wait, 14 accident victims get promised money, April 28, 2015, By Dan Sweeney, Sun Sentinel
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Westin v. Groh – Hotel Operator Liability in Crash Case, April 22, 2015, Fort Myers Auto Accident Lawyer Blog