The City of Lauderhill’s insurance carrier has agreed to offer to pay $475,000 to parents who were told by emergency responders they did not need a doctor to examine their baby who had swallowed a battery because the foreign object would come out through the child’s excrement. The couple took the advice of the emergency responders and did not immediately take the child to the hospital, according to a Sun Sentinel report. When the baby’s saliva interacted with the battery lodged in his esophagus, it corroded it and caused further damage. The child suffered severe medical complications requiring three months of hospitalization.
Negligence of Emergency Responders
The payout to the couple will be one of the largest personal injury settlements in the City of Lauderhill’s history if approved by the city commissioners, according to the assistant city attorney. The city’s insurance carrier would cover the payment of the settlement amount. After the fire-rescue paramedics quickly looked at the child, they told the parents he would probably excrete the button battery before leaving the home. The next morning the child threw up and, after his mother called poison control, she was instructed to immediately take him to the hospital.
X-rays taken at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital confirmed there was a button battery lodged in the child’s throat. By the time the battery had been removed the tissue around his throat had died and he required multiple surgeries to repair the damage, which kept him hospitalized for several months. The child sustained permanent injuries.
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Sovereign Immunity Laws
The settlement is above what local governments commonly pay in lawsuits against them, because Florida sovereign immunity laws cap settlements at $200,000 per person or $300,000 per incident. Typically, victims who are seeking above and beyond this capped amount must seek approval from the Florida state legislature through a claims bill. Legal advisers to the City of Lauderhill, however, recommended the family not be forced into a claims bill because they can take years to approve. The child’s medical expenses were over $1.6 million and were eventually reduced by medical providers, but still added up to more than $250,000. As a result of the lawsuit, emergency response employees were re-trained on proper protocols.
Before the mid-1970s, if a person was injured and the Florida government was at fault, the injured party was barred from suing the state, including any of its agencies or subdivisions. Under sovereign immunity, an injured person could not recover any monetary compensation for harm suffered. Florida Statutes section 768.28, however, provides a partial waiver of the state’s sovereign immunity law. Since then, Florida citizens are able to recuperate monetary damages from the state, with some exceptions and limitations.
X-rays taken at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital confirmed there was a button battery lodged in the child’s throat.
Florida Personal Injury Help
If you have been hurt through no fault of your own by a Florida government agency or any of its subdivisions, know that you do not have to do this on your own. There are special rules that must be followed when filing a personal injury claim against a government entity. You want the experienced Florida personal injury attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns to handle your case. We have fought for the rights of the injured across Florida, and can help recover monetary compensation for you. Click here to schedule a free personal injury consultation at one of our Central Florida locations.
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