Florida Legislature Takes 14 Years to Resolve Car Accident Case with Government Employee

14 years ago, college-bound high school senior Eric Brody was on his way home from his part-time job when his car was hit by a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy, Christopher Thieman, who was late for a mandatory roll call. Thieman was driving approximately 70 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 45. Brody was left seriously and permanently injured. He suffered severe brain damage and doctors had to keep him in a drug induced coma for six months. He is wheelchair bound to this day and has speech and mobility difficulties.

The Brody family hired a Florida car accident lawyer to help them with their claim. The attorney filed a lawsuit when settlement negotiations broke down. The Miami Herald reports that seven years ago a jury in Broward County found Thieman to be negligent in this case. The Brody family was awarded $30.9 million for injuries and costs associated with the auto accident. However, the State Legislature must approve any amount over $200,000 when a citizen is collecting a claim from a government entity. The State Senate and House have been debating for the last seven years over this settlement.

A bill that would end the debate and award Brody $10.75 million was finally passed in the Senate on January 10, 2012. It was one of the first pieces of legislation to be addressed in the 2012 session. A bill that would have provided $12 million died at the very end of last year. The family’s car accident attorney said the $10.75 million figure is between what the insurance company last offered and the total amount the Senate considered.


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