For a number of historical and legal reasons, residents of San Mateo and the greater Bay Area need to follow special steps when they sue the state government of California, a state agency or even a local government body. The special rules also apply to suing public employees.
These rules can be complicated in certain respects, and they also carry with them strict deadlines. If these deadlines get missed, then it could mean that even someone who has an otherwise legitimate personal injury claim will not be able to file suit and secure compensation. This one reason why it is so important that a Californian with a claim against the government consider speaking with an experienced attorney.
To give an overview, someone who has suffered a personal injury because of the negligence of a government employee has six months to file a formal claim with appropriate authorities. The claim has to comply with certain formal legal requirements, including enough facts so that the authority can make a decision about the claim. The authority may choose to pay or offer to settle the claim outside of court or it may deny all or part of the claim. If a claim gets denied in whole or in part, the person filing it can then pursue litigation in court.
Although there are ways in which a person can file a claim belatedly, no one should assume that he or she will be able to do so. Californians may need to file one of these claims for a number of reasons. To give one example, if a person gets hurt in an accident with a government vehicle, then they may need to file a claim if they believe the other driver was negligent and caused the accident. An experienced attorney can discuss these and other options with accident victims.