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Suing California: Key Considerations for State Tort Claims

By Peterson Law Group on August 15, 2023

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If somebody harms you or a loved one, you have the right to seek damages to cover the cost of your injuries, property damage, and other expenses, such as loss of earning potential.

It’s difficult to pursue a personal injury claim when your injuries occurred on state property or when the defendant is a state employee carrying out official duties at the time of the accident.

The state has enacted strict filing deadlines and other hurdles to protect itself from liability in these cases. That’s why finding an attorney who can file and win these cases is important, someone who won’t be deterred or intimidated by government bullying.

When Can You File a State Tort in California?

A tort is a negligent action or failure to act that causes harm to one or more people or property damage. A tort claim seeks monetary damages to compensate for a loss. The person who files the claim is known as the claimant.

The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) stipulates the conditions under which state, county, municipal, and other government officials, entities, and agencies may be held liable in a tort claim. The CTCA generally shields public officials from personal liability, making it more difficult to seek damages against government entities.

You must file a claim within six months of the incident with any California State Board of Control Office or the main office in Sacramento. If you miss the filing deadline, you may file an appeal if you have a reason for excusable neglect, such as the claimant being a minor or suffering from physical or mental incapacitation.

You may file a claim for an injury that occurred on state-controlled property such as a State Park, a State University campus, or land managed by a state government agency. You may also seek compensation for an injury caused by someone employed by the state, such as an automobile crash involving someone driving while conducting official state business. The state is exempt from liability for actions committed by people serving in an official capacity for the California National Guard.

The following types of government tort liability may be applied in a claim or a lawsuit against the State of California:

  • Premises liability on state-owned or controlled property
  • Personal injury
  • Negligent training
  • Negligent supervision
  • Negligent hiring
  • Eminent domain
  • Violence or physical or emotional abuse by a public employee
  • Dangerous road conditions

How to File a Tort Claim Against the State of California?

If you were harmed by the negligent actions of someone carrying out official state business, such as an instructor at a California State University, a California Highway Patrol officer, or an employee of a state agency or department such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you have the right to file a tort claim.

Your claim must include the following information:

  • The claimant’s name and address
  • The address where you want to receive notice from the state
  • The date, time, and place where the incident occurred
  • All facts related to the incident
  • A description of all injuries, damages, and losses incurred
  • Names of government officials responsible for causing injuries, damages, or losses (if known)
  • Whether the claimant is requesting more than $10,000 in total damages

It’s Important to Find the Right Attorney

Successful civil litigation against a public entity requires skill, experience, creativity, and comprehensive research. Most law firms simply don’t have the resources to pull it off, but John S. Peterson isn’t your typical lawyer. He’s been litigating large disputes with government agencies in California for over 42 years.

When he takes you on as a client, John is happy to give you his cell phone number because he knows you’ll have many questions that need to be answered. John knows how to negotiate with state officials to get you a reasonable settlement. Cases that go to trial must be handled by an attorney who knows how to write a convincing brief and argue effectively in front of judges and juries.

John will file a claim and see the process through to the very end. A negligence claim against the State of California will include the following types of damages:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost or damaged property
  • Disfigurement
  • Medical devices
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Wheelchair ramps for your home
  • Occupational therapy
  • Wrongful death

Do You Have a Dispute Involving Property Damage or Eminent Domain?

If the government damages your property or takes your business or residence for an infrastructure project using eminent domain, you have the right to be compensated fairly. Nobody is above the law, not even state officials.

At Peterson Law Group PC, our Irvine attorneys know how to take on the government and win. John S. Peterson belongs to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and our firm has been recognized for providing outstanding service to our clients by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. John also has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, their highest honor.

Call (949) 955-0127 to schedule a consultation today. You aren’t going to find a better lawyer anywhere else.

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