Personal Injury claims against California government entities are governed by a statutory scheme set out in the California Government Code Sections 814 et. seq. It is commonly referred to as the Government Tort Claims Act. The act mandates that a claim against the government entity be filed within 6 months after the accrual of the cause of action or it will be time barred. This short time to file a claim operates independently of the longer 2 year statute of limitations to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
Originally, this provision was enacted with the belief that government entities would have an early opportunity to investigate, evaluate, and settle meritorious cases. But, after litigating personal injury cases in Los Angeles and the surrounding Southern California Counties, it is my experience that claims are routinely denied and the provision to file a claim within 6 months of the accident or injury is a trap for the unwary.
And, if the injured person is astute enough to file a claim or hire an experienced personal injury attorney to assist in filing the claim, the information included in the claim is of the utmost importance. Omission of critical facts or an inadequate request for relief may adversely impact a later filed lawsuit.
If you have been injured by the dangerous condition of public property or the negligence of a government employee, don't delay taking action. Retain a personal injury lawyer to advise you on your rights, remedies, and assist in the filing of a timely and complete government tort claim.