If you’re injured in a single-car accident in Florida caused by a pothole, obstruction or other dangerous road condition, who can you sue for financial compensation? Under limited circumstances, you may be able to claim damages from the state or local government agency responsible for maintaining the road.
Normally, the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity prevents citizens from suing a state or local government for money damages without its consent. However, Florida state and local governments have waived immunity for negligence claims arising from accidents caused by road hazards. There are nevertheless certain requirements and limitations that apply in such lawsuits. It is best to consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney to evaluate your case.
Any road hazard caused by lack of proper maintenance could be the basis of a claim against a government agency. Such conditions include potholes, uncleared snow or ice, flooding due to poor drainage systems, sinkholes, broken guardrails, uneven pavement, malfunctioning streetlights, inadequate signage, construction sites and road debris.
However, a person seeking recovery of damages must prove negligence. This means showing that the agency breached its duty to maintain safe conditions on the road where the injury occurred. The claimant must also show that the unsafe condition was the cause of the injuries. For example, if a car moving at the speed limit hits a deep pothole and the driver hits his head on the steering wheel and suffers a concussion, hitting the pothole must be proven to be the cause of the head impact.
Once all these elements are proved, the damages recoverable include medical bills, costs of rehabilitation, lost wages and other related expenses. However, the damages that a plaintiff is permitted to recover against a government agency are capped at $200,000. Punitive damages are not available. In addition, a claim against the state must be filed within three years of the accident, or within two years if the claim is for wrongful death.
If you or members of your family have been injured in an accident due to poorly maintained roads, the experienced attorneys at Largey Law will fight for your rights. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online. We have offices in Tavares, Clermont and Inverness.