Claims filed under General Liability or Automobile Liability coverages allege negligence on the part of a state employee, agent or volunteer. The State of Florida waived its sovereign immunity to be sued for negligence claims (tort claims) in 1972 with the passage of s.768.28, F.S., “Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in Tort Actions.” Claimants who allege they have sustained bodily injury, personal injury, property damage or death due to negligence of a state employee, agent or volunteer must adhere to the provisions of s.768.28, F.S., when filing a claim and lawsuit against the State of Florida.
Claimants must put the state agency involved in the claim and DFS on notice of their claim in writing within 3 years of occurrence and suit cannot be filed until after a 180 day investigation period unless the claim is denied. Service of process must be on the agency and DFS. Tort recoveries are limited to $200K per person, $300K per occurrence. Amounts in excess of these limits must be collected from the legislature through the claims bill process. Failure to follow the procedural requirements of s.768.28, F.S., can result in dismissal of the claim.
There are no statutorily required forms for submitting a tort claim in writing. On this website you will find the following forms to aid you in this process but a narrative letter describing the facts and nature of your claims is usually sufficient.
TORT CLAIMS SHOULD BE MAILED TO:
Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Risk Management
200 E. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0338
State agency personnel should report all automobile accidents and general liability incidents to Risk Management as soon as possible using the contacts above and later in this section. State agencies may utilize the following forms on this website:
Agency and universities may also utilize our management insurance system, Origami, to report auto and general liability incidents to DRM. The incident portal allows you to upload pictures as well as documents to your incident.
There are no notice of claim requirements or forms for reporting a federal civil rights claim to Risk Management. Claimants can outline their claim in a notice letter or can file a lawsuit with no waiting or investigation period.
Employment discrimination claims must generally be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), or with the agency’s internal grievance process. Claimants filing with EEOC or FCHR cannot file a lawsuit until the agency makes a “cause” or “no cause” determination and issues a “Right to Sue Letter.” This determination can take up to 180 days.
Reports made under the Florida Whistle-blower’s Act, s.112.3187, F.S., must generally be made to the Office of the Chief Inspector General, or agency Inspector General, FCHR, the whistle-blower’s hotline, or any entity having authority to investigate the report.
Section 284.30, F.S., states:
“A party to a suit in any court, to be entitled to have his or her attorney’s fees paid by the state or any of its agencies, must serve a copy of the pleading claiming the fees on the Department of Financial Services; and thereafter the department shall be entitled to participate with the agency in the defense of the suit and any appeal thereof with respect to such fees.”
Failure to follow the procedural requirements of this section can result in dismissal of the claim.
All liability claims received by Risk Management are reviewed by an Administrator. Most claims are “set up” as active claims and assigned to a claims adjuster for handling. The claim adjuster will investigate the facts to determine legal liability. If the state is liable, the adjuster will determine a monetary amount for damages sustained and make an appropriate settlement offer. The adjuster will either settle, not settle or deny a specific claim.
If a claim is not settled and a lawsuit is filed, Risk Management will retain a defense attorney for the state and the adjuster will continue to monitor and supervise the litigation to conclusion.
For administrative issues, problems or other concerns:
Marc L. Stemle
Bureau Chief of Liability and Property Claims
Division of Risk Management
200 E. Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0338