A recent article published in the “Tallahassee Democrat” reported that the State of Florida has decided to “reconnect” with Gallagher & Company, and “…is now offering $2,000,000.00 professional liability insurance coverage for educators and instructional staff. . .”
But how many potential Florida claimants will ultimately be the beneficiaries of that insurance? Florida Statute §768.28 provides Sovereign Immunity to many of Florida’s governmental entities, including many of its educators. Florida’s sovereign immunity statute has prohibited claims for various torts against many of Florida’s employees, or educators in the past. And if a claimant has a right to bring a claim, the State and its applicable employee’s cannot have a judgment enforced against them for greater than $200,000.00 per claimant.
So while a Florida entity may choose to provide professional liability insurance coverage if a claim is properly made, historically, regardless of how liable the Florida entity was, they almost never made any of their insurance benefits available to the claimant until either a court awarded it, and the Florida Legislature passed a “Claims Bill” in favor of the claimant.
Historically, approximately 90% of all Claims Bills were denied; and of those that the Florida Legislature approved, they were typically reduced by 90% of a jury’s verdict.
So while it may seem as though this announcement that Gallagher & Company and the State of Florida have “reconciled” would be a win for Floridians, only time will tell if the State agencies will choose to make those benefits available to aggrieved victims – or continue with their previous history of only making those benefits available after a claims bill has been awarded.
For further information regarding this topic or any other potential issues concerning a personal injury claim against the State of Florida, or any of its agencies or political subdivisions, please feel free to contact The Schulman Law Group at 954-349-3300, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.