Sovereign Immunity is the concept and legal precedent that a government entity is immune from civil or criminal prosecution. This concept was developed over thousands of years of monarchial rule, where Kings and Queens were granted immunity from any and all wrongdoing.
In the United States, this concept was not incorporated into the Constitution, but rather developed early through judicial precedent and made into law by the passing of the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution.
Federal Sovereign Immunity has been pulled back some by the passage of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) of 1946. This law waived the Federal Government’s right to be sued to a limited extent, by allowing private parties to file suit against the government when an employee, officer or agent, acting on behalf of the Federal Government is deemed to be the tortfeasor. There are still exemptions to this liability and in most instances there are limits imposed on judgments.
States also enjoy Sovereign Immunity in much the same fashion as the Federal Government. The State of Florida passed a similar statute to the FTCA in 1972, s.768.28, F.S., “Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in Tort Actions”, which outlines similar circumstances and restrictions for liability suits brought against the state.
The Florida law, requires all claimants that bring suit against a government entity to file a written notice of claim within 3 years of the occurrence. This notice must be brought to both the state agency involved in the claim, as well as the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Risk Management, which manages all claims and insurance for the state government.
It is essential that all procedures be followed by the claimant, otherwise the state will dismiss the claim and could potentially bar your claim forever. Few civil attorneys will even touch these types of cases due to the restrictions imposed on judgments and the attention needed to properly file the claim.
If you or a loved one has a claim against a municipality, county or state agency, you will need an experienced civil attorney to help you process your claim. The Law Firm of Massey & Duffy continues to serve the Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Chiefland, Cedar Key and surrounding areas.
Our attorneys have represented client against Florida entities such as the Department of Corrections, public universities, municipalities, public schools and many others. Our attorneys will ensure your claim is processed correctly and that you receive just compensation for your injuries.
Call our office today at (352) 505-8900 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.