Florida is a large state with many different-looking areas. You might drive down the panhandle and find yourself surrounded by swampland. You can drive through Miami and see clubs and bars everywhere.
If you drive through Florida, you’ll notice that some roads are in excellent repair, but others not so much. The state government doesn’t do the best job maintaining the roads sometimes, and maybe a poorly-maintained road causes a single-crash crash if you’re not careful.
If that happens, you might wonder whether you can sue the state to get the money to repair your car. We’ll talk about that in this article.
If you try to sue the government, whether at the state or federal level, you must sometimes deal with something called sovereign immunity. That basically means you can’t sue a government or individual at that government’s head because that government or individual can’t commit a legal wrong.
However, you can sometimes get around that statute. That’s because Florida waives sovereign immunity in certain instances. Maybe you can’t sue the state itself, but you can sue another entity that should have maintained the road that damaged your car or injured you.
In Florida, you must have PIP insurance, or personal injury protection insurance. Florida PIP insurance covers 80% of your medical bills, but no more. It also covers up to 60% of lost wages if you take time off from work because this car wreck injured and incapacitated you.
Some individuals in Florida tend to grumble about mandatory PIP insurance. However, in incidents like this, it can work to your advantage. You can use it to recoup some of the money to pay for car repairs and medical bills, and you can also sue certain entities to try to get the rest of the money back that a PIP insurance policy does not cover.
What PIP Insurance Does Not Cover
Let’s say you crash your car on some deserted Florida road. A sinkhole opens in front of you, and your vehicle plunges into it. You hurt yourself, and you total the car.
You can use your PIP insurance to cover much of the damage, both to yourself and the vehicle. However, you might feel you’ve gone through additional pain and suffering. The PIP insurance will not cover that at all. Now, you’re getting into civil lawsuit territory, as any personal injury lawyer will tell you.
Pain and suffering amount to what you experience while you’re laid up recovering from the injury. You might feel sad because you can’t do many things you once could.
If another car hits you, you might sue that driver and try to get money out of them in a civil trial. If no driver hits you, though, and you crash your car because of poor road conditions, you’ll likely bring a civil suit against Florida’s state, county, or local government.
How Can You Win One of These Cases?
In these instances, you’ll first need to talk to an experienced lawyer who can advise you. When you tell them what happened, they can give you their opinion regarding whether you have a case or not. They can also tell you what entity you might sue if they think you can win.
Many times, you’ll win your case if your lawyer can argue that the entity maintaining the road you crashed on knew about the poor road condition, but they dragged their feet and didn’t fix it. If the sinkhole opens up in June, and you run your car into it in September, your lawyer might argue that they had ample time to fix the condition.
If the entity you sue argues that they didn’t know about the poor road conditions, it’s up to a jury to decide whether to side with you or that entity. They will look at any existing evidence, and they might find in your favor.
If they don’t, you have to walk away without any money, but you can still turn to the cash that the PIP insurance affords you. You won’t get money for any pain or suffering, but the PIP insurance should pay off for you to some degree.
These instances might traumatize you, and hopefully, you can win a lawsuit against the state or local government entity responsible for road maintenance. If not, you’ll have to get back on your feet as fast as possible so you can resume your life, even without financial compensation.