Claims Against Government Entities in California, if you have a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim against a non-government entity, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit. However, if you have a personal injury claim, wrongful death, or property claim against a government entity, your time frame to file a lawsuit is shorter.
You must first serve the government entity with a written claim, within six months from the date when your right to sue accrues. In a personal injury claim, a right to sue generally accrues from the date when the injury occurs or when injury is first discovered. The government entity can then accept or reject the claim. If the claim is rejected, then you have six months from the date of rejection to file your lawsuit.
If you fail to serve the government entity with a written claim within six months, you can seek permission from the government entity to file a late written claim. However, your petition to file a late claim must be served within one year from the date when your right to sue accrues and you must show that you failed to file a timely claim because of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Other grounds for seeking relief include minority, physical or mental incapacity, or death. The government entity can then give you permission to file your late claim or reject it. If the government entity rejects your request, you must then petition the court for relief. The court may grant relief unless it finds that the government entity would be prejudiced.
So, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately if you have a claim against a government entity, even if your claim may be late. You should also remember that you may have a claim against a private entity, who would not be subject to the above described restrictions. This article strictly talks about California law. If you have a claim against a government entity outside of California, or the Federal government, you should immediately contact an attorney to discuss your case because laws may differ. This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to serve as legal advice. You should always contact an attorney to discuss any legal matter.