Claims Against a Government Entity in Florida are Limited. It is called sovereign immunity.
Sovereign immunity is based on the English common concept that the government cannot be sued because “the king can do no wrong.” But it’s not just the king. The king’s immunity stretches to the palace and the grounds, to the guy who cuts the royal grass, or washes the kingly car, or sells food at his majesty’s alma mater, to the Emergency Rooms and Hospitals the King deems appropriate and anyone remotely a servant of the King’s Government. Basically, City, County, State and Federal Government has hurdles a lawyer must jump to maintain your case.
If a lifeguard runs you over or a police officer writes down the wrong address and breaks in your house and injures you during your resistance, if a garbage truck rear-ends you or a teacher abuses a student- the government decides if you are allowed to sue and then limits recovery to $50,000, $100,000 or $200,000 or the like, depending on the State.
It wasn’t the initial rule in the United States. In fact, quite the contrary is true. America was founded on the concept of government accountability to citizens. Governmental Immunity was adopted when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared in 1907, “A sovereign is exempt from suit [because] there can be no legal right as against the authority that makes the law on which the right depends.” Because it makes the law it is not subject to it- sound fair? A 1945 Supreme Court opinion declared that sovereign immunity is “embodied in the Constitution.”
However, neither law professors, nor private citizens victimized by the government have ever been able to find precisely where in the Constitution this doctrine is “embodied.” Even the basic principle’s espoused in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, held, “the very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws, whenever he receives an injury.”
Pursuant to Florida’s Sovereign Immunity Statute § 768.28, the State of Florida and its political subdivisions, such as cities and counties, has limited its liability for damages under the sovereign immunity statute such that an injured consumer may recover up to a maximum amount of damages of $200,000, and potentially another $100,000 if there are dependants. That’s it. It was just raised on October 1, 2011 from $100,000 and $200,000 respectively. If you have suffered catastrophic personal injury in Florida due to a negligence or carelessness of any State, County, or city worker, and further, even if your medical bills alone exceed $200,000, the most you can recover from the State, County, or City responsible is $200,000 and possibly another $100,000 for your dependents.