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Fort Lauderdale Woman Awarded Over $300,000 In Judgement Against City

Recently, a Fort Lauderdale woman seriously injured in a 2010 crash involving a police cruiser received a $306,000 verdict in her favor. The Broward County jury hearing the case determined the officer involved in the crash, Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Daniel Gowans, to be 90 percent at fault in the accident.

The case began in 2010 when the plaintiff and her son were struck by Gowans as the officer raced through the intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and Southeast Fourth Avenue. Gowans was responding to a domestic violence call despite receiving communications from police dispatch informing him another officer was already on the scene.

The plaintiff suffered eight fractures to her wrist and incurred over $80,000 in medical bills. The plaintiff was uninsured at the time and unable to pay back most of her treatment costs despite reductions by the hospital. Jurors awarded her $40,000 in past and future medical costs and $300,000 for pain and suffering.

Florida comparative negligence laws

Florida’s comparative fault statute holds plaintiffs may have tort awards reduced should they have contributed to their own injury in some way. In this case, because jurors ruled the officer to be 90 percent at fault and the plaintiff 10 percent at fault, her award was reduced by 10 percent.

Blaming victims for their own injuries is a standard tactic defense lawyers representing negligent parties will often use to skirt liability. Injury victims should always consider hiring an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer to handle their case and refute comparative negligence claims.

Fort Lauderdale sovereign immunity laws

Despite a jury verdict affirming the complaint, the plaintiff’s award may be in jeopardy due to a little known law known as sovereign immunity. Florida law puts caps on claims against governmental entities and restricts the types of damages plaintiffs may receive.

Florida statute 768.28(5) states:

  • Government entities are not liable for punitive damages;
  • Individual claims may not exceed $100,000 and a total of $200,000 for all parties involved in the same incident; and
  • The Florida legislature must issue a special claims bill to pay for damages above cap levels.

Furthermore, the city of Fort Lauderdale has the right to challenge the ruling of the case through appeal. Although the city has yet to file an appeal, the law affords defendants this right.

Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyers

Although The Pendas Law Firm did not provide legal representation to any of the parties in this particular case, our office regularly represents auto accident injury victims hurt by the carelessness and disregard for public safety of negligent parties. Victims hurt in auto crashes are entitled to file claims to recover compensation for property damages, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in an auto accident, contact The Pendas Law Firm for a consultation about your case. Our office represents clients in Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Read What Others Have To Say About Us

  • “I can’t express how much I appreciate this law firm. I had the honor to deal with attorney Daniel. He kept me updated on my case. I couldn’t ask for a better law firm. Daniel fought for me til the end and got me what I deserved. Thanks Daniel and your team for always being there to answer any of my questions. If I ever need a law firm again...”

    Terry Mcphillips
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    Luis Sanchez
  • “Thank you for helping us in our time of need. This firm handled my father’s workers comp case, and helped us with every question we had, and we had a plenty. Thankful for the entire legal team!”

    Enilno Resu
  • “I just concluded a case with attorney Michael Sanchez and paralegal Camilo Lopez. I can only say they are exceptional. The customer service is unique, they have been battling alongside me since day 1. They are not only courteous and professional, but they also are amazing at their job. Thanks to them I got a great deal. I am glad I decided to use their services...”

    Israel Garcia
  • “Their attorneys are absolutely someone you want handling your car accident claim. They communicated with us promptly and thoroughly. I was very happy with our recovery. Already recommended them to others in the same circumstances, their staff speaks Spanish and you feel like in family.”

    Ian Brito
  • “Very Professional law firm. They explained to you every detail what to do according to the laws (worker’s compensation). Mr. Danilo Cruz is the best Lawyer and his team. They are very kind, friendly, responsible, I love this firm. They fight for their clients. AwesomeTeam!”

    Lau Rod