An accident that causes an injury can happen anywhere, including on public property. When you are hurt because a lack of maintenance made public property dangerous, then the government entity responsible for it may be liable. However, in Florida, governmental entities are not responsible for paying for the consequences of their actions in the same way that individuals are liable.

Instead, there are special rules for whenever a governmental entity is involved in a lawsuit. These rules may have an outsized impact on your claim, but a Sarasota public property injury lawyer like the local premises liability attorneys at Dannheisser Injury Law can help you understand your options and create an injury claim.

Understanding Accidents on Public Property

The state and municipal governments own and manage many properties, including:

  • Parking lots
  • Public parks
  • Courthouses
  • Public schools
  • Public libraries
  • Sidewalks and roads
  • State-run healthcare systems

There are also many different circumstances that may make these areas prone to causing injuries, such as:

  • Poor lighting
  • Uneven or cracked surfaces
  • Debris falling in or near walkways
  • Stairs without appropriate handrails
  • Wet or slippery surfaces due to precipitation or spilled fluids
  • Pedestrian crossings or walkways that lack appropriate safety features for the surrounding traffic patterns

Identifying whether a governmental entity is responsible for injuries that occur due to these conditions may be challenging. In addition, it can be complicated to determine the exact governmental entity that is responsible. Our Sarasota attorneys are highly experienced in representing people injured on public property and can help provide answers to these initial questions.

What Is Sovereign Immunity?

The state’s constitution includes a concept known as sovereign immunity, which limits a citizens’ ability to sue the government. The government may provide exceptions to sovereign immunity in some limited circumstances.

Florida Statues § 768.28(1) waives sovereign immunity with respect to any injuries a person may receive due to the government’s negligence. This waiver of sovereign immunity is broad enough to cover injuries that occur on public property due to their failure to maintain it safely.

There are additional rules that apply in such lawsuits. Because compliance with these rules is critical to the success of a claim against a governmental entity, it is important that an injured person work with a Sarasota attorney at Dannheisser Injury Law who regularly handles cases involving injuries on public property.

For example, Florida Statutes § 768.28(6)(a) provides that, before filing a lawsuit in court against a governmental unit, the injured person must provide written notice to the government office responsible for the area where the incident occurred. The notice must be in writing and include specific information. Moreover, the government entity must receive the claim within three years after the date of the injury. The government entity will have the ability to review the claim for up to six months and decide to either pay the amount the injured person requests or deny the claim. Only after the government denies the claim may the injured person file a normal lawsuit in court.

Comparative Negligence

As with non-government parties, the state follows the comparative negligence model, meaning that if a jury finds that the injured person is more than 50% at fault, they are not allowed to recover any damages. If a jury finds that the injured person is less than 50% at fault, the court will reduce their recovery by the percentage of fault.

Contact a Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney Regarding Harm Received on Public Property Today

After a severe accident, knowing how to manage the logistic, administrative, and legal processes can come with a great deal of stress. When a governmental organization caused your injury, the level of complexity only increases. But your focus should be on recovering from your injuries. A skilled attorney can help make your recovery process easier. Our attorneys can help you protect and assert your legal right to compensation so that you can focus on getting better and returning to your normal life.

Reach out to Dannheisser Injury Law and talk to one of our Sarasota public property injury lawyers today during an initial consultation.

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