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The California Tort Claims Act and Negligence

Personal InjuryWhen it comes to personal injury, many people assume that after being hurt due to the action or inaction of another person, they are eligible for compensation. While this works in theory, the process is far more complex when suing the government. Entities now understand that if they can pass some or all of the blame onto the victim, they may not have to pay out anything for causing the injury of another. In some situations, the government will also use the lack of knowledge most people have about the law to make it impossible for the individual to sue.

Somebody who sustains an injury needs to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can ensure that no one takes advantage of the client. Without proper representation, victims often pay financially for the injuries caused to them during the accident.

California Tort Claims Act

If the negligent party happens to be the government of California, a local government within the state of California, or a government employee who works for the California government, it is still possible to file a lawsuit. As long as the case meets the requirements under the California Tort Claims Act, which include:

  • The employee who caused harm must have been working in their official capacity
  • A claim must first be filed with that particular agency or entity
  • The entity must receive notice within six months of the accident or injury

It is important to note that the California Tort Claims Act does not apply to the Federal Government. For more information on the Federal statutes that govern the Tort Claims Act, give us a call.

Responsibility 

When presenting a personal injury case to a judge or jury, one of the first things that come into question is whether or not the accused party is responsible for committing the act, whether through an act of negligence or deliberately. To win a personal injury case, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant’s actions did not meet the standard or duty, normal care or that they attempted to intentionally cause harm.

The plaintiff has to show that the actions or inactions of the defendant did not keep with normal expectations of a person or entity in those circumstances. If the defendant did not act in a certain manner, then there may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Also, if the defendant sustains injury due to this lack of care, then there could be a case.

Shared negligence

Very often, after someone sues a government entity for personal injury claims, the government entity will try and make a counterclaim that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the injuries. In a personal injury case, it is highly advisable for the plaintiff to never speak directly with the person they are bringing the suit against or any insurance company. If the defendant can show that the plaintiff was at least partially responsible for the accident, they may have to make lower payments or no payout at all.

Most courts assign comparative negligence, which means they look at all of the facts in the matter and then assign a certain percentage of responsibility to each of the parties involved. If the government entity can show that you were injured in an accident caused more by your own actions, chances are they will not have to make a payment in your personal injury suit. This is why you need an attorney to represent you when filing a claim under the Tort Claims Act.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.