Will Woman Whose Head Was Run Over By Lifeguard Vehicle Ever Collect $2.6 Million Verdict?
I read with interest a story that appeared on the WESH.com website regarding a recent Central Florida.jury verdict. Last week a Volusia County jury ruled in favor of a in favor of a 36-year-old woman , and issued a verdict for $2.6 million.
The woman, whose name is Erin Joynt, was vacationing in Daytona Beach in 2011 with her family when a full-sized beach patrol pick-up truck ran over her head she laid in the sand on the beach. Ms. Joynt suffers from partial facial paralysis, had a number of fractures, as well as and vision and hearing loss. Ms. Joynt testified at trial that she continues to experience constant pain.
The jury divided its award this way: $100,000 for future medical expenses, $500,000 for loss of earning capacity, $500,000 for for past pain and suffering, and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering.
As a Florida personal injury attorney, the most interesting aspect of this case will be what happens next with regard to actually collecting on this verdict. Since the jury verdict was against a governmental entity, the local lifeguard agency, many people do not realize that Florida law limits the amount of money that any person who is injured due to the negligence of a governmental employee can collect in a case. As of this writing, the limitation is $200,000 per injured person.
Even though a jury of her peers believes Ms. Joynt’s claim is worth over $2 million, likely the only way that Ms. Joynt will ever collect $200,000 will be by pursuing a very complicated procedure called a Claims Bill all the way through the Florida Legislature. If the Legislature passes a bill to provide Ms. Joynt with the money, it will still be up to Governor Rick Scott to sign it. The reality is that our Republican-controlled state legislature very rarely passes Claims Bills. I hope they make an exception for Ms. Joynt.
If you have any questions regarding an injury involving a governmental entity, or the Claims Bill process, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.