What If The Government Causes My Injury?

Let’s say John works for the City of Tampa and his job is to inspect buildings. Part of his job is, obviously, driving to the location to inspect the buildings. One day, John is looking at his cell phone and hits Jenny from behind and send her to the hospital for the afternoon. Jenny has $10,000 in bills from the hospital she needs paid by John.

Hold up, John works for the government. This changes things because the government is a “sovereign.” Since it’s a sovereign, then Tampa has “sovereign immunity.” Soverign Immunity keeps goverments in Florida (cities, counties, the state, etc.) from facing liability for causing its citizens injury.

150 years ago, Jenny would not be able to recover her $10,000 because sovereign immunity kept the government from being liable for personal injuries. Since then, politicians have enacted laws that allow Jenny to recover her $10,000 by bypassing sovereign immunity.

Basically, the exception to sovereign immunity is to find out whether the government, here the City of Tampa, is engaging in “operational level decisions.” Case law has made it clear that employees of the government who are driving to carry out various duties and responsibilities are considered to be making operational-level decisions. So that means Jenny can recover her $10,000 from the City of Tampa and any other damages allowed by law. Much like a normal car accident case.

If you’ve been injured by a government entity in the state of Florida and have any questions about any of these topics, feel free to contact us at Chris@waggenerlaw.com, 727-685-8000, or check out our other articles at waggenerlaw.com.