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Florida Court of Appeals May Permit Florida Personal Injury Patients to Sue Cities

The Florida Court of Appeals is allowing a driver to sue the Florida city of Boca Raton for negligence, potentially creating a precedent for other drivers injured in a similar manner. The case, Marion v. City of Boca Raton, involves driver Elizabeth Marion, who was driving through the intersection of Glades Road and Renaissance in Boca Raton when she was involved in a traffic accident. The traffic control lights were in “safe mode” because they were malfunctioning and it was these lights, Marion successfully argued, which contributed to her accident.

During the case, it emerged that city workers were called to the intersection twice during the 36 hours before Marion’s Florida car accident. Both times, workers simply reset the lights rather than investigating why there way a problem and rather than finding another solution for the malfunction. As a result, Marion claimed that the city was negligent because they had an obligation to maintain the lights but failed to do so, leading to the accident.

The city has claimed that its duty to drivers does not involve well functioning traffic lights, but rather only requires the city to warn drivers about hazards. The city has claimed that the safe mode accomplishes this. The city also alleges that poor driving, rather than the lights, are what in fact caused the accident. If all drivers noted the safe mode of the lights and proceeded with care, the accident would likely have not happened.

The Florida Court of Appeals decided that the city does have an obligation to drivers to keep traffic devices operating as intended. The court also found that simply having warnings does not negate the city’s obligation to drivers. The ruling may send a strong message to drivers and cities alike: cities have a duty to maintain traffic lights and may be held liable if they fail to do so. It is unknown whether the judgment will impact Florida pedestrian accident cases and other cases involving traffic light malfunctions.


If you have been injured in a Florida car accident or have sustained a personal injury some other way, contact the legal team at the Flaxman Law Group. The Flaxman Law Group is proud to be a part of the Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood communities and to be able to serve the surrounding South Florida area. The legal team at the Flaxman Law Group have helped thousands of Florida personal injury victims and may have the expertise to help you. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.