Accidents Involving City, County, State, or Other Government Vehicles
Injured By Fire Department, Police Department, Postal Service, Metro, or Other Government Actors?
Under the California Torts Claims Act, special rules and procedures apply to torts committed by Governmental agencies and employees. If an individual wishes to file a claim or action against public entities, such as a state, county, local government, or their employees, the claim should be filed meeting the requirements under Government Code §§ 810-996.6, pursuant to the California Tort Claims Act. Specifically, under Government Code § 911.2, claims relating to causes of actions for death, personal injury, or damages to personal property.
One of the most vital steps an injured party must take in order to preserve their personal injury or property damage claim against a governmental entity is to file a claim with the appropriate Governmental agency within six months following the date of loss or date of injury. The rules and guidelines are particularly specific; as such:
- Injured party must file a written complaint in the proper form with the correct state or local agency, as it is a vital requirement prior to litigation.
Even if, you are unsure or do not have the intentions of filing a lawsuit against a government body or government employee, it is in the best interest of and interest of protecting your rights and remedies to file a claim for damages with the public entity.
As previously mentioned, The California Tort Claims Act has special procedures and time restrictions. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney specialized in the relevant area of law to gather additional information about your specific claim, options, and time constraints. If you fail to file a claim within the six-month time limit, from the date of loss or injury, you hold the possibility of losing your chances of filing a lawsuit.
While, Government Code § 911.4 (a) and (b) may grant an individual the possibility to file a ‘late claim’, there are specific criteria(s) an individual must meet in order to be granted such privilege.
Reason for Filing a Government Claim
There are variety of reasons one can file a claim against a government entity or employee for. For instance, you were involved in a vehicle collision involving a government vehicle such as:
- Los Angeles Metro Bus;
- Fire Department;
- City owned vehicle;
- United States Postal Service; or
- You may have been assaulted by a government employee and sustain injuries and or damages.
These negligent actions many times result in including but not limited to, high medical bills, impairment, disability, physical and emotional damages, future damages, or loss of income. Remember, an injury does not have to be physical injuries; it can also be damages to personal property and violation of protected rights.
Who May File a Government Claim?
Anyone individual that believes they have been injured by a government entity or employee can file a claim against the government entity. A claim can be filed on your own behalf or on behalf of someone who was injured, pursuant to Government Code §§ 910, 910.2.
Where and how do I file a Government Claim?
As soon as you decide to file a claim, it is important to file it with the appropriate entity. The claim can be delivered in person or via U.S mail, pursuant to, Govt. Code Section 915 (a). “A claim against the state or a state agency or employee should be filed with the State Board of Control (SBC) by delivering it in person to any local SBC office or mailing it to the main office: Govt. Code Section 915(b)“. If you wish to deliver by mail, the ‘filing date’ is considered the ‘mailing date’. It is recommended that claims delivered via mail be sent via certified mail, with a return receipt request. Below we have provided a few helpful links; directly download your desired claim form.
What happens after I file?
After filing a claim, the entity must respond to your claim within 45 days. Your claim will either be:
- Rejected in whole part;
- Or partially rejected.
According to Govt. Code Section 912.6(a), 912.4(C) If the Government agency DOES NOT respond within 45 days, the claim is treated as rejected on the 45th day. In case of rejection, the injured party may file a lawsuit against the appropriate government agency to recover money damages.
For example, if you were involved in an accident with the Los Angeles Metro Bus, CHP, United States Postal Service, Fire Department or another Government vehicle and you never received a response in 45-days your claim is presumed rejected, however, you may still have the right to file a lawsuit two years from the date of accident.
- If the entity rejected your claim in whole or in part, you have six months from the date the notification is mailed to file a lawsuit against the governmental entity, pursuant to Govt. Code §§ 913, 945.6(a)(1).
- If you DO NOT receive a response from the Government agency within 45 days, the claim is presumed, rejected. Thus, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit pursuant to Govt. Code § 945.6(a)(2).
If you have been involved in an accident involving an Government vehicle, give our office a call at 310.943.1171. Mention this artcile and recieve a free consultation!