Last year, we wrote an article about our client, Ms. Maria Garcia, who was struck by a Pinellas County School Bus while walking to her job in February 2019. The collision left our client with catastrophic injuries and extensive damages. She spent two long months in Bayfront Hospital’s Trauma Center. 

Ms. Garcia sustained injuries to her brain, internal organs, pelvis, and ribs. She also suffered internal bleeding and infections from the injuries. She is now totally disabled and will need medical care for the rest of her life. Tragically, she requires assistance with many basic tasks and cannot walk more than a few feet at a time.

The episode has attracted state-wide attention. Florida Politics even highlighted the case in a February 2023 column.

The Settlement

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers was honored to secure a $3 million dollar settlement for Ms. Garcia against the Pinellas County School Board, which admitted liability for the bus accident. This settlement will help compensate Ms. Garcia for her medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering related to the incident.

However, Florida’s sovereign immunity laws protect state and local governments from liability in certain civil lawsuits. These laws also place a $200,000 damage cap in cases where individuals can sue the government.

Where Things Stand Now

The Pinellas County School Board has paid $200,000 of our client’s settlement. However, it cannot pay the remaining $2.8 million of the award without the passage of a “claims bill,” a piece of legislation that allows state legislators to override the sovereign immunity caps. 

Roman Austin is committed to getting our client the compensation that is rightfully hers. To that end, we’ve petitioned local legislators to file a claims bill on behalf of Ms. Garcia. Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep. Linda Chaney have each filed claims bills concerning Ms. Garcia’s settlement in the 2023 legislative session (SB 4, HB 6017). The Florida legislature will vote on whether to approve the settlement later this year.

How You Can Help

If you would like to help Ms. Garcia get justice after accident, you can contact your local representatives and request that they approve Ms. Garcia’s claims bills. You can ask them to award the settlement she deserves for her medical costs and pain and suffering. You can find contact info for your local senator here. You can find contact information for your local state representative here.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm Of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers To Get The Help Your Deserve

If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the Personal Injury law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

If you would prefer to email us, please visit our contact page.