Government Caps on Damages

Jefferson County, Alabama agreed to settle a case where a child drowned at a county construction site.  The 8-year-old child road his bike into a puddle, and unbeknownst to him, it wasn’t a puddle but a four (4) foot crater filled with water.  As a result the child drowned.  The county and construction crews failed to put any type of barrier or warning signs around the puddle. 

The County recommended paying the family the maximum $100,000.00.  While this won’t bring the child back, it does make the County think twice the next time such a situation arises.  However, is $100,000.00 cap outdated?  Is $100,000.00 enough to deter negligent and irresponsible conduct?  Should governments even have immunities or caps on damages?  According to the family’s attorney, Barry Walker, this cap is not sufficient for such conduct.

Many other states around the country have raised their caps in order to at least account for inflation.  Not Alabama.  Like many legal areas, we remain in the minority of states on this issue.

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