If you are injured and an employee, government agency, or the government itself is the party responsible for your injuries, you must follow some very specific requirements in order to file a personal injury lawsuit. Under the CTCA, you must first give notice to the government and the notice must be given within a specific period of time, generally within six months of the injury. If you do not provide notice within the allotted time period, you will lose your opportunity to file a claim for damages from the government party that was responsible for your injuries. The CTCA limits the types of injuries and accidents that the state of California can be held liable for. This is known as sovereign immunity, which basically prevents people from suing the government or a government agency for their personal injuries. However, there are certain exceptions, including premises liability, in the act that allows the government to be held liable if the government had prior notice of the hazardous conditions.
Sovereign immunity, a legal concept, was developed centuries ago in England. Sovereign immunity was used as protection for the King against any type of lawsuit that caused damage or injuries to others. Over time, every state has adopted this concept in some form or another in an attempt to protect public entities from lawsuits for damages and injuries that were caused by the government or their employees. In the majority of states, sovereign immunity statutes provide specific exceptions to the law in which a plaintiff may still sue the government or other public entities.
Claims Covered Under the CTCA
Under the CTCA, all civil liability or claims for money damages are covered, including:
- Automobile accidents
- Bus accidents
- Medical negligence
- Slip and fall accidents
- Breach of contract
- Sports injuries that occurred at school
- Burn accidents
- Assault and battery and other intentional torts
Claims that aren’t Permitted under the CTCA
In the majority of situations, the act doesn’t allow for allows other than those listed above, including:
- Injuries that resulted in the failed attempt to pass a law, regulation, or ordinance
- Injuries that are caused by the California National Guard
- Injuries that are caused by the failure to issue a license, permit, certification, or another form of governmental authorization
- When the report of information identifying convicted drug offenders to a local school
- Injuries that were caused by any misrepresentation
Also, punitive damages aren’t typically permitted in a claim against the government and they are rarely awarded in a personal injury claim. Also, any claim that is not for money or damages can’t be filed on the CTCA.
Under the CTCA, the government may be legally responsible for personal injury damages in certain situations, including the negligent act of an employee, the negligent act of independent contractors, when the damages are caused by the public employee’s failure follow the law, and premises liability (slip and fall) for dangerous conditions on government property. The California Tort Claims Act applies to local, state, and county government agencies, including municipality or city agencies.