If you have been injured as a result of another’s negligence, you will likely have the opportunity of filing a personal injury claim in California’s civil courts. When the injuries have been caused as a result of the negligent act or inaction of a government agency, however, the State of California Tort Claims Act will oversee the injury claim.
Government agencies are held to a specific standard of care in ensuring that safety of people. Different cities, counties and states will usually have specific rules and regulations concerning their specific jurisdiction. When an accident occurs because of the negligence of a government agency, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what agency is responsible. When being injured because of the negligence of a government agency, obtaining the legal support of an attorney can not only help in determining what agency was responsible, but also help in demonstrating what role that agency had in the accident that caused the grievances.
The following are common hazardous conditions that could signify that a government agency was the responsible party in causing someone’s injuries: Potholes that have gone unfixed, A city-employed driver who is driving erratically or carelessly, Shifted or improperly installed guardrails, Road or pavement erosion, Fading traffic lane paint, or Hazardous road designs and engineering.
Most of us know that the State of California has a statute of limitations that sets a rigid time frame to file all personal injury claims. While most people recognize this statute, many fail to recognize that when the claim is made against a government agency, the time allowance and overall process is much different.
If you or someone you know was injured because of an auto accident that was caused by a government agency’s negligence, it is important to act quickly to begin the process. The information provided in this article will help to clarify important information you should know about filing a lawsuit against a government agency in the State of California.
Tort Claims Act: Laws on Injury Claims Against Government Agencies
The California Tort Claims Act states that for the most part, a public agency will not be responsible for injuries caused by the agency or its employees. In general, California has set a limit to their liability but there are exceptions that could aid those who have been injured.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in the State of California and you have reason to believe that a government agency or employee was responsible for your injuries, you will need to file a distinct claim. Based on California’s Tort Claims Act, you will have up to six (6) months from the date of your injury to file a claim with the appropriate government agency.
The Tort Claims Act outlines certain exceptions, which allow the government to be held accountable under limited circumstances. Nonetheless, filing a successful claim can provide an injured person with compensatory damages that can include, but are not limited to the following: A loss of income, medical bills, therapeutic costs, medication expenses, property damage, and/or pain and suffering.
An individual who has been injured as a result of the negligence of a government agency can file a claim under the rules and procedures set forth by the California Tort Claims Act. The act will cover all civil claims for monetary damages including motor vehicle accidents involving negligence. As a general rule, the government entity will be held liable for the negligent act if the entity was carrying out a government function or was otherwise acting within the means of employment duties. A person seeking financial compensation from a government entity must file a claim with the appropriate government agency and cannot file a lawsuit directly against the employee who acted in a negligent manner.
Tort Claims Act: Claim Exclusions
Injuries that will not be covered under the focus of the Tort Claims Act include: Those caused by the state’s national guard, those produced by the failing or passing of any regulation, law, or ordinance, those produced by issuing, or lack thereof, any license, certificate, order, permit, or comparable official authorization, those caused by the failure to inspect a property not owned by the government, those caused by the failure to enforce a law, those produced by misrepresentation, punitive damages
Additionally, claims that are not for financial compensation or damages will not be allowed. To illustrate, the California Supreme Court held that a claim for mandamus (requiring a public entity to perform an act) couldn’t be filed on the grounds that it is not a request for monetary compensation.
Government Claims Process
When you sue a government agency, you will first have to file an administrative claim with the agency you believe is responsible for your injury. This is a step that will need to be completed before you file a claim in court.
As previously mentioned, you will need to file a claim under a certain time frame. In the State of California, personal property damage and personal injury claims will need to be filed within six (6) months from the date of the injury. It is important to note, however, that there are a few exceptions to this, as stated under the California Government Code §905 and §911.2. More about these exceptions will be explained below.
Once the claim has been filed, the government agency will have 45 days to respond to your claim. If the agency has denied your claim during that time period, you have six (6) months to file a claim in court. The six months time frame begins from the date of the rejection letter, and if no such letter was received, you have two (2) years from the day the incident occurred to file a lawsuit.
Exceptions to Filing a Late Claim – Under very specific circumstances, a late claim may be accepted. In order to be considered, petitioners should attach an application for the late filing along with the claim. The following are the most commonly accepted reasons for filing a late claim: Making a mistake in the claim, excusable neglect, inadvertence, the claimant was under the legal age during the six month period, physical incapacity, mental incapacity, or the death of the claimant.
When it comes to filing a claim against a government agency, the statute of limitations can be very complex issue to understand. Furthermore, there are other factors that could affect the allowable time frame. Generally, if you are seeking to file a claim against an agency for personal injury, it is recommended that you act swiftly and begin the process as soon as possible.
What To Include In a Claim – When filing a claim, due diligence is highly recommended. By making sure that a claim is properly submitted, monetary compensation can be much faster to obtain.
Claims against government agencies can vary from agency to agency. In order to understand the full scope of what an application should include, the government agency responsible for the accident should be contacted.
For the most part, a claim that is filed against a government agency should include the following information: Name and address of the petitioner, address the claimant desires notices be sent to date and place where the event took place, other circumstances surrounding the event, a general description of the injury or damages incurred, name of the government employee who caused the damage, loss, and/or injury, the total amount claimed, if the amount is less than $10,000
Demonstrating Damage – A person seeking to file a claim against a government entity will need to demonstrate that he or she suffered a grievance. This can be sometimes difficult, especially with respect to the physical damage caused to the vehicle or the extent of the injuries, as these can take several days to become apparent.
When demonstrating that damage occurred, the following factors could help the claimant build a strong case: Detailed photographs of the accident/ scene, Eyewitness testimony, Police reports.
There are some cases where obtaining evidence to support a case can be difficult for a person. This is usually the case for victims that require immediate medical attention due to receiving life-threatening injuries.
If you are the victim of an accident caused by a careless government agency, consider seeking the legal support of an attorney who can help you build a strong case against the agency. A proficient and experienced attorney will defend your rights even when you are unable to.
California’s Statute of Limitations – Every state in the nation will have its own rules and regulations with respect to filing a personal injury lawsuit. For most personal injury lawsuits in the State of California, a claimant will have 2 years from the time the incident occurred to file a claim. When the injury or damage was caused by a government agency, however, the claimant will have 6 months to file the claim.
When filing a personal injury claim against a government agency, it is important to seek the legal support and advice of a professional attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will help the claimant build a strong case against the negligent government agency by the following:
Obtaining evidence that the negligent act occurred. – If the accident deals with hazardous road conditions, such as potholes or sight obstructing brush, a skilled attorney can immediately go to the scene and gather evidence that demonstrates the hazards before the hazards can be fixed.
Help in determining the amount of damages that are available for the specific case. – When it comes to personal injury claims in California, there are two types of compensatory damages a claimant can pursue. These are legally referred to as economic and non-economic damages. A skilled attorney can help the claimant determine the amount of compensation that is available for damages such as the loss of the vehicle, the injuries and medical costs associated with the accident, and even the emotional stress the victim endured.
Defend the rights of the victim under the settlement negotiation process as well as the litigation process.
Once the injured person has determined the extent of his or her medical condition, the hired attorney can begin to negotiate a fair settlement for the client’s injuries. Once the offer is received, the attorney can help the victim review the response as well as discuss potential courses of action.
When filing a claim against a government agency, the Tort Claims Act will only allow an injured person to collect monetary compensation from a liable government agency.
Consult With a Professional Attorney to File a Claim
Filing a lawsuit against a government agency is a complicated matter that will require a strict procedure. Furthermore, the State of California has strict statute of limitations that allow a claimant only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. If you have been injured as a result of a government entity, seek the legal expertise of a professional attorney who can help you defend your rights.
If you were injured in an auto accident and have reason to believe your injury was caused by a government agency, consider seeking the legal advice of a professional attorney who can assist you. Filing a claim against a government agency is highly complex and the process can be very stressful. A specialized auto accident attorney can help to make sure your case is filed in a timely manner and that your claim includes supplementary elements that will fortify your case.
Attorney Justin H. King has dedicated his career to helping auto accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve after sustaining injuries as a result of negligence. Negligent-based vehicular accidents can happen at any time but when the accident is caused by a negligent government entity, the process of filing a claim can become complicated. If you have suffered grievances because of a negligent government agency, obtain the professional