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Is the state liable for dangerous conditions on its property?

Injuries occur every day in Florida. In many instances, the only person at fault is the injured person. However, there are many other instances when the person is injured due to someone else's negligence. For instance, many people suffer injuries in car accidents when one of the drivers was distracted or driving dangerously. Another common incident where people are injured is slip-and-fall accidents that occur while the person is on another's property.

The law makes it clear that a private property owner can be liable if a dangerous condition on their property causes an accident. However, there are many pieces of property that are owned by the state and are for public use. Dangerous conditions can also be found on these pieces of property. Therefore, if a person is injured on public property, they can sue the state for the damages, but there are limitations.

If the state is at fault for the accident, the victim may be able to recover damages for the injuries but cannot recover punitive damages. Also, the state is only required to pay a maximum of $200,000 in damages for a single person or $300,000 for all the injuries arising out of one incident. In some circumstances the state may pay more, but it must either be approved by the legislature or be an amount covered by an insurance policy.

The state's employees also cannot be held personally liable for an injury if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. However, an employee can be liable if the injury was caused because the employee acted in bad faith or the employee acted maliciously and willfully.

So, a person who is injured on public property in Florida may sue the state for damages, but there are limitations on the amount the state is liable to pay. Whether the state is at fault will be based on the individual facts of each case, just like injuries occurring on private property. Experienced premises liability attorneys understand these laws and may be able to guide one through the process.

Source:, "The 2014 Florida Statutes," accessed on July 6, 2015

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