Sovereign Immunity in Florida

Florida Statutes Section 768.28 details sovereign immunity in Florida. The statute describes the extra steps that a person suffering a personal injury can recover from a state or state agency. Perhaps most important among the subsections listed in this statute is subsection 5, it reads as follows:

The state and its agencies and subdivisions shall be liable for tort claims in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances, but liability shall not include punitive damages or interest for the period before judgment. Neither the state nor its agencies or subdivisions shall be liable to pay a claim or a judgment by any one person which exceeds the sum of $200,000 or any claim or judgment, or portions thereof, which, when totaled with all other claims or judgments paid by the state or its agencies or subdivisions arising out of the same incident or occurrence, exceeds the sum of $300,000.
However, a judgment or judgments may be claimed and rendered in excess of these amounts and may be settled and paid pursuant to this act up to $200,000 or $300,000, as the case may be; and that portion of the judgment that exceeds these amounts may be reported to the Legislature, but may be paid in part or in whole only by further act of the Legislature.
Notwithstanding the limited waiver of sovereign immunity provided herein, the state or an agency or subdivision thereof may agree, within the limits of insurance coverage provided, to settle a claim made or a judgment rendered against it without further action by the Legislature, but the state or agency or subdivision thereof shall not be deemed to have waived any defense of sovereign immunity or to have increased the limits of its liability as a result of its obtaining insurance coverage for tortious acts in excess of the $200,000 or $300,000 waiver provided above.
The limitations of liability set forth in this subsection shall apply to the state and its agencies and subdivisions whether or not the state or its agencies or subdivisions possessed sovereign immunity before July 1, 1974.

This statute regarding sovereign immunity in Florida accident cases is important to those injured at the hands of a state agency employee. The cap on the state's liability to one injured party is $200,000, regardless of your damages. However, if a jury returns a verdict in excess of $200,000, the Legislature must approve the payment of such damages to the accident victim.

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