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California State Property Injury Claims: Proving Negligence

By Peterson Law Group on December 10, 2023

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If you were seriously injured due to dangerous conditions on property owned by the state of California, such as roads, bridges, and parks, you have the right to seek compensation for the losses you have incurred. However, the State has created legal barriers to protect itself from liability in these situations. That’s why it’s important to find a Los Angeles dangerous property condition attorney who is well-versed in the relevant statutes and legal precedents that apply to these cases.

There are strict filing deadlines for pursuing a tort for injuries that resulted from the negligent behavior of government officials, so you will want to speak with a state-owned property injury claims attorney right away.

What Is a State-Owned Property Personal Injury Claim?

A tort is a civil wrong that causes a person to suffer loss or harm. Under tort law, you have the right to seek legal damages, which is a monetary award given to the plaintiff as compensation for a loss or injury.

For example, if a speeding driver runs a stop sign and crashes into you while you are crossing the street, you have the right to seek damages to cover the cost of your medical treatment and other expenses, such as lost income.

If you were injured due to the negligent actions of a state official, you will have to demonstrate the following when filing your claim:

  1. There was a dangerous condition.
  2. Your injury was caused by a dangerous condition.
  3. It was reasonably foreseeable that your injury would occur.
  4. The dangerous condition was caused by the wrongful or negligent act of a public official.
  5. Your injury is not trivial.

To establish that the conditions were dangerous, your attorney must demonstrate that the property poses a substantial risk when used with reasonable care and in a reasonably foreseeable manner. For example, you were traveling under the speed limit along a state road when you were injured due to a sudden and unmarked drop-off.

To establish that the accident was foreseeable, your attorney must demonstrate that the State had actual notice or constructive notice about the dangerous conditions on their property:

  • Actual notice means public officials knew about the dangerous condition as indicated by official reports or public complaints that had been filed.
  • Constructive notice means public officials should have reasonably discovered the dangerous condition due to its size, location, the length of time it went unaddressed, and other factors.

Dangerous Conditions That Cause Injuries on State Property

The dangerous conditions on state-owned property that caused your injuries may be the result of hazards that were overlooked or ignored by public officials, or they may have been created by a state employee acting within the scope of their work, such as a work crew that left heavy equipment in the roadway overnight.

Examples of dangerous conditions that may cause injury include:

  • Poorly maintained roads
  • Raised sidewalks
  • Potholes
  • Lack of signage
  • Signs obscured by foliage
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Roads with steep drop-offs
  • Heavily trafficked roads with no medium
  • Roads with insufficient warning about sharp curves

Filing a Claim for Injuries That Occur on State-Owned Property

Your state property injury claims lawyer will investigate the accident and search for public documents that provide evidence of negligence. Public officials in California are not shielded from statutory claims that are recognized by law. Your attorney can determine which statutes and precedents provide the best legal framework for moving forward with a claim or a lawsuit against the State.

The following factors will be considered when a court rules on a personal injury lawsuit for injuries that occur on state-owned property:

  • Expert testimony
  • Documentation of injuries
  • Requests made for action by the Department of Public Works
  • Dates of first notice and subsequent notices
  • Seriousness of the defect
  • Recorded complaints
  • Visibility of defect to users
  • Likelihood that a reasonable inspection would have revealed the defect

Damages for Injuries That Occur on State-Owned Property

A claim or lawsuit for injuries and other losses caused by negligent state officials may include the following types of damages:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful Death

We Know How To Take on the Government and Win

Peterson Law Group, PC has been filing successful legal actions against public officials in California for over 35 years. Our founder, John Peterson, is uniquely qualified to advise clients in all matters of litigation related to property law in California. Our Los Angeles firm has won substantial settlements for our clients, often far larger than anticipated.

John Peterson has been recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers for providing our clients with outstanding service and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Call us at (213) 319-4993 to learn more today.

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