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Bringing a Claim Against the Government of California

In California, a government entity can be liable for negligent or intentional acts of its employees committed by a private individual or company. In case a person is injured as a result of some governmental action, there are some certain rules he must follow to successfully establish his legal rights.

Examples of Claims Against a Governmental Entity or Agency

  • claim against public hospitals for malpractice
  • claim against a bus company
  • claim against the Highway Patrol
  • claim against cities

Statute of Limitations for Filing An Injury Claim Against the Government of California

According to California law, there are very strict deadlines to sue the government. A person must file a claim within six months of the date of his injury if he intends to sue a governmental entity or agency in California. In case the claim is not filed within the six-month period, it will be barred by law. This rule is also applicable to minors.

Though in some certain limited cases a person can obtain relief from the court to file a claim within 1 year after the injury.

How Do I File a Claim Against the Government in California?

The best way of filing a claim against the government of California is filing it with the Office of Risk Management (California Department of General Services). The government has forty-five days to respond to the claim after receiving it. In case the government doesn’t respond within the mentioned period then a person has the right to sue in court.

What Information Must Be Included in Government Claims?

Government claims in California must include the following:

  • Claimant’s name and address
  • Name and address of the person to whom notices must be sent
  • Place, date and circumstances of the accident
  • A detailed description of the claimant’s injury and damages
  • Identity of the responsible public employee (if known)
  • Amount of the claim

What Damages Can a Claimant Recover in a Case Against the Government?

A claimant is entitled to recover damages against the government in the same manner as he would be allowed to recover against a private company, including:

  • past and future medical expenses
  • past and future wage loss
  • past and future pain and suffering

There are two major exceptions in recovering damages in a case against the government:

  • A person can’t recover punitive damages against the public entity. Though a public employee can still be held responsible for punitive damages
  • A government entity can elect to pay judgments that exceed $500,000 by making partial payments over a ten-year period.

If you have been injured as a result of governmental negligence, it is very important to contact a personal injury lawyer to handle government claims.


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