In typical personal injury claims in Irvine, CA, you gather the requisite evidence and file for damages with the at-fault person’s insurer. If the insurer refuses to pay up, you can then take your claim to a court of law and turn it into a lawsuit.
However, things work differently when your personal injury is a result of the actions of a government entity, employee, or an independent contractor working with a government entity. In such a case, a different set of rules and regulations apply. You can still seek damages but you must conform to the designated rules and regulations in order to ensure that your claim or lawsuit is successful.
Notice Period and Statute of Limitations
For standard personal injury claims in California, the statute of limitations is two years. In other words, you must submit your claim within two years from the date of injury.
However, the deadlines work differently in claims involving a government entity. You are first required to submit an administrative claim for your injury-related losses. This claim is filed with the relevant government entity. This entity then has 45 days to address this claim.
A government entity will typically conduct internal investigations to determine whether you have a valid claim. If your claim is accepted, you are likely to receive compensation soon afterwards.
However, if your claim is rejected and you are notified within the 45-day period, you then have the option of contesting the denial and filing a lawsuit. After a formal denial, you have only six months to file a lawsuit.
Alternatively, it is possible that the government entity does not respond to your administrative claim. If you don’t receive a letter confirming the acceptance or denial of your claim within 45 days, you have two years to file a lawsuit for damages.
The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA)
Many government entities enjoy ‘sovereign immunity.’ This means that they are immune from many forms of litigation. However, every state has created exceptions to this immunity. These exceptions in California are encapsulated in the California Tort Claims Act.
Under this Act, it is possible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against most of the state, county, and local government entities. You can’t bring the suit directly against the employee of a government body. Instead, the claim must be brought against the agency or entity for which the at-fault individual works.
The CTCA allows you to file civil liability claims for damages or money. So you can essentially file for damages when you suffer physical losses, or if there are other losses such as those caused by a breach of contract or nuisance.
Unlike regular personal injury claims, you also have a limited amount of damages available in claims brought against a government entity. For instance, you can’t seek punitive damages in such a claim, which are typically available when the deliberate malice or gross negligence of the other party is involved.
Exceptions to CTCA
There are a number of exceptions to the CTCA. For instance, you are not allowed to seek compensatory damages for:
- Any injuries caused by the California National Guard
- Any injuries that result from misrepresentation by a government employee or entity
- Any injuries that are caused by the passage, or failure to pass, of a law, ordinance, or regulation
Damages You Can Seek Under CTCA
When filing a claim for damages against a government entity under CTCA, you are entitled to different types of damages. These include:
- Medical costs, covering physician’s fees, prescription medication, surgeries, medical tests, therapy, rehabilitation, and future costs as well.
- Loss of income if you are forced to take time away from your work due to the injuries.
- Property damage that may have been caused by the injury, such as in injuries that are caused by a car accident.
- Pain and suffering damages, pertaining to the intangible losses.
Hiring a Reliable Irvine Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered a personal injury in Irvine, CA due to the negligence of a government employee or entity, you may be able to recover full compensatory damages. However, as noted above, you will need to follow a different procedure when you name a government entity as the defendant. Here at the Crockett Law Group, we have an extensive experience of handling claims against government agencies. Our lawyers can help you meet the deadlines, submit administrative claims, provide relevant evidence, and recover compensation without losing any time. Call us today to discuss your claim with us.