Why does it take so long to sue a police department?
Just like there are caps in the amount of money that we can recover against the government agency, there are also rules we have to follow if we’re going to bring a claim against them and file a lawsuit. In Florida, we’re required to give written notice to the government agency of the claim. At that point, the government agency then has six months to review the claim and either accept or deny it. If six months goes by and they don’t respond, that is considered a denial. During those six months, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit, and if you do, it will get dismissed. In this case, I gave written notice of the claim and the six months went by without the agency accepting or denying the claim. Therefore, it was denied so I filed the lawsuit.
I also attempted to resolve the case without filing a lawsuit by providing documentation that the officer was doing 89 miles per hour at the time of the crash, that he was on his way to work, didn’t have overhead sirens on, and wasn’t in pursuit of anybody. My attempts at settlement went ignored, so I had to file a lawsuit. Once we filed the lawsuit, the government agency hires their own lawyers. Those lawyers bill by the hour and really don’t have an incentive to sell the case because they’re being paid hourly. Typically, after a lawsuit’s filed, it takes about eight months to a year and a half to get the case to trial for final resolution.