Father of Baby Killed by Abuse Wins $2.6 Million Judgment Against Police
A Florida jury awarded the father of a baby girl who died due to blunt force trauma $2.6 million in damages. The baby had suffered significant trauma over the course of a month that eventually resulted in her death. A jury awarded the father $4.5 million in damages and held the Broward sheriff’s office 58% liable for the girl’s death. The award was reduced to $2.6 million based on 58% liability. However, sovereign immunity rules cap the damages in a lawsuit against the state at $200,000 per claim. The plaintiff will have to file a claims bill with the legislature if he wants to recover more than $200,000.
Elements of negligence
The girl was two months old when she was treated at West Boca Medical Center Satellite Emergency Center for choking. The hospital later reported that she also had a black eye. 15 days before her death, she was treated for leg and wrist fractures. The doctor who treated the girl decided to call the abuse hotline, but the Broward Sheriff’s Office cleared the girl to go back home with her mother. The child was being abused by the mother’s boyfriend. She was back in the emergency room 15 days later with injuries to her legs and a skull fracture. The boyfriend was convicted of manslaughter.
The father faulted BSO for failing to remove the girl from the abusive situation. He contended that had they intervened, the girl would still be alive. He has a point. The girl suffered from extensive trauma over a significant period of time. With injuries all over her body, it seems apparent that there was some form of abuse happening in the household.
These types of cases can be difficult to win. In many instances, the state is immune from lawsuits that allege this type of negligence. However, there has been a recent uptick in cases alleging that child protective services negligently released a child into an abusive household. These lawsuits are filed under a theory that all abuse scenarios must be investigated. This is usually the police of many CPS agencies across the country. When an official from the government violates a policy, they can occasionally be held liable for injuries or death. All of the cases that have been filed against CPS allege wrongful death.
Suing the government can be difficult for plaintiffs. They have to navigate special rules that apply only when suing government agencies. There is also a cap on the amount of damages you can recover when suing the government. The only way around that is to petition the legislature to award you more than the sovereign immunity cap. In this case, the plaintiff will have to hope the legislature honors the $2.6 million settlement.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin discussing your case immediately.