Filing a Government Personal Injury Claim
I’m Ed Smith, a Rancho Cordova personal injury lawyer. Claims for accident injuries that occur on public properties are handled differently from those on private properties. In some cases, they may be complex because the property may be controlled by more than one entity. For example, the county and city may share control over an area of a public property.
Government Claims Have a Different Statute of Limitations
Under personal injury law, most people who suffer a personal injury have two years in which to file a claim. Otherwise, the case will not be heard. A claim against a government entity, whether city, county, state or federal has a much shorter statute of limitations of six (6) months.
What Accident Injuries Are Covered by California Law?
A dangerous condition must exist in order to place an injury claim against a government entity. This does not mean that an injury from a simple act of negligence is sufficient to bring a claim. Under Government Code 830, a dangerous condition is defined as one creating a substantial hazard rather than a trivial or minor problem. Not all areas fall under this law to protect the public. Encroachments, easements, and similar properties, while they may be located in an area of public property, may not be controlled or owned by the government entity.
What Types of Negligence Create Dangerous Conditions?
Some dangerous conditions are created by poor design or planning, while others may be due to lack of maintenance or damage that hasn’t been corrected.
- Broken or loose curbs or stairs, which can cause a slip and fall accident
- Overgrowth of vegetation that may obscure a stop sign or intersection, causing a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident
- Deterioration of lane or directional markers, which causes a vehicular accident
- Lack of signage in areas where needed such as warning of a dangerous curve ahead, which could result in a rollover accident
Placing a Claim
When claiming an injury on government property, as laid out in Government Code 835, the following things must be proven:
- The property where the injury occurred is either under the control of or owned by the government entity (city, county, state, federal).
- The property presented a dangerous condition at the time the individual’s injury occurred.
- The condition on the property created a risk of injury that was foreseeable.
- The government entity was aware of the dangerous condition and had time to correct it.
- The cause of the condition was through the wrongful act or omission of an employee who should have corrected the condition.
How An Experienced Attorney Helps
Because a claim against a government entity is much different than other types of personal injury claims, finding a seasoned injury lawyer to represent you is important. Since the statute of limitations for filing a claim against a government entity is six months, getting started as soon as possible assures your claim will be filed on time. Determining what government entity or entities own or control a property can be difficult and requires the expertise an attorney can offer. After filing, the government entity often denies the claim, however, the injured person has six months to file a lawsuit to recover damage.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Rancho Cordova
I’m Ed Smith, a Rancho Cordova personal injury lawyer. Making an injury claim against a public entity requires the experience of a personal injury lawyer who has worked in this area. If you suffered an injury or it happened to a member of your family, please contact me at (916) 921-6400 for free and always friendly advice. Long-distance callers may choose to call at (800) 404-5400 on my toll-free line. Another option is to use the online form to contact me at AutoAccident.com.
After 35 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer, I have represented many residents of Rancho Cordova and surrounding Northern California in their claims, including wrongful death and brain injuries.
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