If you are injured by an actor that is owned by a city, county, state, or even federal government, it is VERY important to know that there are special rules that you must follow in order to properly pursue your claim against a government entity. In this article, we discuss the basics of what you need to know if you are injured by a government entity.
Every state has their own time limits for bringing a lawsuit against those who may be responsible for injuries to another. These time limits are known as the “statute of limitations”. Typically, California has a two (2) year statute of limitations during which to file an injury claims agains a private party, such as a negligent driver or an insurance company. If the party you deem to be responsible is a government entity, however, there are different time limits and procedures that you must be aware of. These rules, known as the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) have been codified, and can be found by clicking on this link to California Government Code.
What is a “government entity”?
A government entity means a public entity or a public employee. Gov. Code 811.2 states: “Public entity” includes the state, the Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University and the California State University, a county, city, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public corporation in the State. Gov. Code 811.4 defines a “public employee” as “an employee of a public entity”, such as those listed above.
Examples of government entities would be Los Angeles Municipal Bus, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, police department, or jails, or a building or property owned by the city, county, or State of California, such as a courthouse.
What should I do if I am injured by a government entity, employee, or on a government property?
Obviously, the first thing to do when you are injured is to get medical treatment immediately. Your health is the most important thing.
Once you have become stable from your injuries, the most important thing to know is that if you are injured by a city, county, or state entity, employee, or property, you have SIX MONTHS to file a “Notice of Claim” with the governing board of the public entity. Essentially, government entities are entitled to a notice that you are bringing a claim against them prior to having a lawsuit filed against them. Although most of these claims are denied, if you do not file the Notice of Claim form within the 6 month period (with limited exceptions), you will not be able to file a lawsuit in court against the government entity.
If you have any reason to believe that a government agency or employee may be responsible for your injury, even if you are not sure, FILE THE NOTICE OF CLAIM FORM immediately! Here is a link to a Notice of Claim form for State of California entities.
Do I need an attorney?
Although our blogs provide information to inform you of the law and your rights, we always advise that you consult an experienced attorney if you are injured by the acts another. This is especially true in the case of a claim against a government entity. There are many intricacies involved with the CTCA regarding the timing and procedures for suing a government entity. in fact, even the government code suggests that you consult an attorney when suing a public entity!
“We’ll Take It From Here.”
For over 35 years, The Law Offices of Vann H. Slatter have been fighting government entities to get injury victims the compensation they deserve. In fact, attorney Vann H. Slatter was the lead Plaintiff attorney in a California Supreme Court case entitled Mary M. v. City of Los Angeles , in which his client was sexually assaulted by an LAPD officer. This landmark decision by the Supreme Court is one of the most important decisions in California’s history regarding claims against government entities.
We know the law, the exceptions, and the strategies involved in order to maximize recovery for victims of injuries by government entities. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at the hands of a city, county, state, or federal government entity, please call us today for your free consultation at (310) 444-3010 or toll-free at (888) 293-0404.