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When Can The Government Be Held Responsible For My Injuries

Suing The Government – The Federal Tort Claims Act

Under the Act, the government can be held legally responsible for personal injury damages in certain situations. These situations include:

  • The negligent acts of employees,
  • The negligent acts of independent contractors,
  • Premises liability for dangerous conditions on government property, and
  • When damages are caused by the public entities failure to carry out a duty imposed by law.

The entity responsible in a California Tort Claims Act claim is generally the government entity or agency responsible for the employee, property, or carrying out a duty. The CTCA applies to state, county, and local government agencies and departments, including city or municipality agencies.

California Law On Injury Claims Against The Government

The California Tort Claims Act appears in sections 810 through 996.6 of the California Government Code. It states that, as a general rule, “a public entity is not liable for an injury” caused by the public entity or any of its employees.

This general rule is also known as the rule of “sovereign immunity,” which has appeared in U.S. and English laws for hundreds of years. Centuries ago in England, the rule prevented people from attempting to sue the king, even if they were harmed by a decision the king made. In the U.S. today, states have adopted the immunity rule to limit their liability, and then have carved out exceptions through which an injured person can seek compensation for injuries and other losses caused by the government, usually through a strictly-enforced procedure set forth in a statute like the CTCA.

What If The Court Denies My Petition

If the court denies the petition to proceed without the claim requirement, the order denying the petition may be appealed. Your California personal injury attorney can file the appeal on your behalf. If successful on appeal, you will be able to file your case against the government.

For questions about the California Tort Claims Act or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled California personal injury attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Shouse Law Group. We use statutes and case law in your favor in attempt to achieve the highest possible settlement.

We have local law offices in and around the city of Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

Injured in Nevada? See our article on qualified immunity and suing Nevada and Las Vegas.

Legal References

  • Legal Information Institute. Sovereign Immunity.
  • California Legislative Information. Cal. Gov. Code § 815.2.
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    What To Do If Claim Is Rejected By Government

    If your claim is rejected by the government, you have the option of suing the government in Court. If the government rejects your claim in whole or in part, you have six months from the date that the notification is mailed to file a lawsuit against the governmental entity. California Government Code, Sections 913, 945.6.

    However, if the government has failed to notify you regarding their rejection of your claim, then you may have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the government. California Government Code, Section 945.6.

    Before you file a claim, or even if you have already filed a claim and your claim is rejected, or even if your claim has been already accepted by the government and there has been an offer of settlement, it is best for you to consult with an experienced attorney in order to maximize your chances of fair recovery.

    What Types Of Claims Are Not Permitted Under The California Tort Claims Act

    Claim Form 1 Understand The Background Of Claim Form 1 Now ...

    The Act generally does not allow claims for almost any other reason, except those above. These include:

    • Injuries caused by the failure to pass a regulation, ordinance, or law
    • Injuries caused by the California National Guard
    • Injuries caused by failure to enforce a specific law
    • An injury caused by an issuance or failure to issue any permit, license, certificate, or other governmental authorization
    • Any injury caused by a failure to inspect any property which the government itself does not own
    • Injuries caused by any misrepresentation or
    • Damages as a result of reporting identifying information of convicted drug offenders to local schools.

    Moreover, punitive damages are generally not allowed in a claim against the government. These types of damages are rarely awarded in a personal injury claim, and may require a showing of recklessness, fraud, or intentional harm. However, these types of damages are specifically excluded from liability under the law.

    Additionally, any claim which is not for money or damages cannot be filed under the California Tort Claims Act.


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    Delivering In Person V Mailing The Claim

    If you deliver the claim in person, the filing date is the delivery date. On the other hand, if you mail the claim, the filing date is the mailing date and NOT the date when the entity receives the claim. This is why if mailing the claim, it is best to mail the claim via certified mail, in order to have proof that you have mailed the claim on a certain date.

    Where To File A Claim

    A claim against a county or local governmental entity or employee directly with the entity’s governing board or clerk. You may deliver the claim in person or by mail. California Government Code, Section 915.

    You can file a claim against the state or a state agency or employee with the State Board of Control, by delivering it to any local State Board of Control office or by mailing it to the main office in Sacramento. California Government Code, Section 915.

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    When Can The Government Be Liable For Failure To Carry Out A Legal Duty

    If a law imposes a particular duty upon a government entity or agency, and that entity or agency fails to fulfill that legal duty, the government can be held liable for injuries caused as a result under the California Tort Claims Act.

    Example: If a government agency is responsible for ensuring that roads are kept in a safe manner, and the agency negligently fails to correct a large pothole it has known about for months, a person injured by the unsafe road condition may be able to sue the agency for damages under the Act.

    Note, however, that many government officials acting in their discretionary capacity are protected by qualified immunity.

    There are many exceptions where injury victims can sue the state government despite the CTCA.

    How To Submit A Claim For Damages

    Federal Tort Claims Act Cases: Where To File?

    The first thing to do when filing a claim is to gather all supporting documentation be sure to retain the originals of any paperwork you submit. For your convenience, there are two ways you can submit your claim to use:

    Option 1. Submit your claim online. You may file your claim entirely online. You will be prompted through a series of questions and can upload images and files to support or document your claim.You will not be able to save your claim form and come back to complete it. Please have all information and documentation ready before you begin. Please review the Claim for Damage Informational Sheet to learn more about the information needed to complete the online form.

    Option 2. Submit a Claim for Damages form to the Office of the City Clerk in person or by US Mail. To submit your claim via these measures, please complete a Claim for Damages Form and return it to us along with all supporting documentation.

    Office of the City Clerk, City of Chula Vista, 276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910

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    How Do I File A Claim Under The California Tort Claims Act

    To file a claim against the State of California, a county government, or a municipal government agency, the injury victim must give notice of his or her claim.6 This may include filing a report or sending a letter which may suffice as notice, so long as it contains all of the necessary requirements. However, many agencies and municipalities have claim forms that individuals can fill out to provide notice of the claim.

    An attorney at the Shouse Law Group can ensure you meet all of the filing requirements, including making sure you file your claim in within the appropriate time limit. Failure to properly file a claim or filing the claim too late could mean your claim will be denied.

    Do I Have To File A Lawsuit If I Filed A Claim

    If you file a proper notice of claim, you may not have to immediately file a lawsuit. By filing a claim, an injured victim leaves open the option of filing the later lawsuit. However, the party may not be required to follow through with the lawsuit if the government agency agrees to pay the claim.

    Example:Carlos was injured as a result of a broken staircase while in a municipal building. Carlos and his attorney file a claim with all of the necessary information and within the time limit. Later, Carlos realizes that he does not want to go through with the lawsuit. He is not required to under the law, but he kept his options open by filing his claim.

    Victims are encouraged to retain an attorney to file their claim against the government, which is a very technical process.

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    What Is The California Tort Claims Act

    If a government agency, employee, or the government itself is responsible for your injuries, there are very specific requirements you must follow in order to file a personal injury lawsuit against the government. Under the California Tort Claims Act, you are required to give notice to the government within a set period of time or you lose your opportunity to seek money damages from the party that injured you.

    However, the law also carves out certain limited exceptions that allow the State of California to face liability. For those limited exceptions, a very strict filing claim procedure is in place which must be strictly followed for an injury victim to recover damages.

    How Is A Claim Processed

    FREE 8+ Notice of Claim Form Samples in MS Word

    Review and Processing of Claims

    When the GCP receives a claim, staff determines if it meets criteria for sufficiency, jurisdiction and timeliness. Often, the program works closely with the affected department in an effort to resolve the matter. Staff then develops a recommendation based on the case facts and input from the affected department.

    Payment of Claims

    Payment is made either by the affected department from existing funds or through an appropriation established by legislation approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

    For additional information please see Government Code Sections 910 – 913.2.

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    California Tort Claim Act

    administrative claim, Anna Monteleone, California Torts Claim Act, Workers’ Compensation

    Under the California Torts Claim Act , if an incident occurs with a defendant who is a governmental entity, state government, city, or other public entity, a proper notice of the claim must be filed within 6 months of the injury or accident. California Government Code section 905. This is known as an administrative claim. This claim form must be filed first before you can file a Complaint in court.

    Our employment lawyers advise that it is imperative that if an accident occurs with one of your employees, that you review the facts to determine if the defendant was working in the course and scope of their employment with a governmental entity. This would be applicable in a car accident where a city employee is driving a city vehicle. In a premise liability case, it would be more obvious that the dangerous condition is the basis for the accident such as an uneven sidewalk causing a person to trip and fall.

    Technically speaking, if no response is received after filing the claim form with the government entity, the statute of limitations for filing a Complaint reverts to two years from the date of loss. However, our labor attorneys note that it is a best practice to still comply with the 6-month rule for filing the Complaint.

    Common examples of governmental claims act cases involving personal injury or property damage are:

    When Can The Government Be Liable For Acts Of Its Employees

    A government entity or agency is responsible for any negligent acts committed by its employees, if:

    • The employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment or
    • The employee was carrying out some government function.2

    If a government employee is the cause of a persons personal injury damages, the victim should file a claim under the California Tort Claims Act against the agency or entity that employs that negligent employee. The Act does not provide for a lawsuit against the employee personally but generally only against the employer.

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    Claims For Damages Are Filed At Corona’s City Clerk’s Office And Processed By Corona’s Legal And Risk Department

    The process of presenting a Government Tort Claim to the City of Corona is controlled by California Government Code sections 900 – 951. As a general rule, claims must be presented within six months of occurrence. Once presented to the City Clerk, a claim is forwarded to Risk Management, where it is reviewed for completeness and merit.

    Be sure that you have signed and dated the claim form and provided all the information requested on the form. Without all necessary information, the claim may be returned to you as incomplete. Claims returned as incomplete should be promptly completed and resubmitted. Generally a copy of estimates for repair is necessary to process the claim. There are exceptions to this requirement, but it is better to provide repair estimates where available.

    Risk Management has a duty to determine liability by researching information from the department that is responsible for the issue involved in the claim, and analyzing the claim in light of controlling law. This process typically takes up to 45 days. The claim may be assigned to an outside administrator, in which case you may receive communications from an independent adjuster.

    The Government Code specifies deadlines for responding to claims. Some claims are accepted. Others are rejected as untimely, or rejected on the merits. When a claim is rejected, the claimant has a limited period of time in which to take further legal action.

    California Government Tort Claims Lawyer

    Federal Tort Claims Act

    If you suffer an injury on public property and/or as a result of a governmental entity’s negligence, it is best that you contact an experienced attorney right away because it is necessary to follow a certain protocol when suing a public entity.

    Trip and falls on city sidewalks, accidents involving a city bus, or injuries in parks and public school property are all examples of accidents involving government or municipal entities.

    Government agencies enjoy broad protections, including shorter statutes of limitations, and certain procedural requirements put in place to ensure that most claims against the government get defeated on a technicality.

    Sometimes, it may not be clear from the case whether a government entity is involved. If you have any doubt as to the identity of all parties responsible for your injuries, contact an attorney at Injury Justice Law Firm right away.

    We will investigate which government agency may be responsible for your pain and suffering.

    The skilled and experienced lawyers at Injury Justice Law Firm are highly knowledgeable in this area and will help you sail through this complex process with ease, so that you may concentrate on seeking proper medical treatment and getting better rather than fighting the system.

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    How To File A Claim With The City Of Vernon

    Pursuant to the California Government Tort Claims Act , a claim must be filed if you are seeking money or damages from the City or one of its employees. With very limited exceptions, no lawsuit for money damages may be brought against the City or its employees unless a written claim has been properly filed with the City. Claims for death, injury to person or to personal property must be presented to the City within months from the date of loss . Claims related to any other loss must be presented to the City no later than one year from the date of loss ).

    Warning: This is not intended as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney to determine the time period for filing either a claim or a lawsuit.

    The City of Vernon has a standard claim form that can be used for your convenience. This form must be filed in person, or by mail, directly with the Vernon City Clerk located at 4305 South Santa Fe Avenue, Vernon, CA 90058. The City will review, and where appropriate, take action on the claim. However, neither the City Attorney nor any other City official or employee can provide legal advice concerning the claim or litigation against the City.

    Please print out the Claim Form, sign it, attach any supporting documentation and either deliver it directly to the Office of the City Clerk or return it by mail to the Office of the City Clerk at the address set forth above.

    What Happens After I File My Claim

    Once your claim is filed, the public agency generally has 45 days in which to respond or take action. This time is extended somewhat depending on if the claim is mailed and from where the claim is mailed.

    There are 5 possible outcomes after a claim is filed:

  • The entity fails to respond within the appropriate time period. This means that the claim is deemed rejected.
  • The entity may approve the claim in whole or in part. The entity may offer a compromise to the claim, which may constitute a settlement of the whole case.
  • The entity may reject the claim.
  • The entity may state the claim does not have sufficient information. The claim can be amended within the time period set by law to fill in that missing information.
  • The entity may return the claim for being untimely.
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