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Government Tort Claims

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Government Tort Claims

Before you may sue a public entity, you must first file a claim meeting the requirements of the California Tort Claims Act (Government Code §§ 810-996.6). This law applies to public entities such as state, county, and local government agencies or departments, as well as to government employees. With very few exceptions, you cannot sue the government for money damages unless you have filed a written claim within the legally specified time period. Filing a claim gives the agency the opportunity to settle the claim before a lawsuit is filed and to investigate the claim so that it can properly defend itself, or to correct the conditions or practices that led to the claim.

The California Tort Claims Act sets out strict guidelines for filing your claim with a governmental entity.

    • You must file:

      • Within 6 months of the incident for: •

        • Personal injury •

        • Damage to personal property •

        • Wrongful death

      • Within 1 year of the incident for: •

        • Breach of contract •

        • Damage to real property •

        • Equitable estoppel

If you do not file your claim within this period, you may be barred from filing a lawsuit.