Government premises liability lawsuits are slightly different than those filed against private parties. The government incurs the same kind of liability that a private owner would, but the process for suing the government is quite different.
In addition, there are some restrictions on what sorts of liability the State of California can incur. As shameful as it is to say this, the government is held to a much lower standard than the rest of us.
Nonetheless, you might be able to recover damages if you slipped and fell on public property. The slip and fall attorneys at Wakeford Gelini offer free consultations, so it doesn’t hurt to ask. You can give us a call or talk to us online to determine whether or not you have a case against the government. We will be happy to field any questions you may have.
Sovereign Immunity and the California Tort Claims Act
There are certain situations in which the government can shield itself from liability. This is known as sovereign immunity.
While, logistically, the government has the authority to complete shield itself from any liability, the people who run the government still have to answer to you and me. For that reason, most governments won’t completely shield themselves from liability.
The California Tort Claims Act identifies how and when lawsuits can be brought against the State of California or any of its employees.
Restrictions of Personal Injury Lawsuits Resulting from Slip and Fall Accidents
In a typical slip and fall injury lawsuit, a defendant can be held responsible if they knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed. In addition, if they caused the dangerous condition to exist, then the individual would be liable under the law.
However, those seeking recovery of damages on public property can only bring a lawsuit against the government if the government had forewarning that the dangerous condition existed and elected not to correct the dangerous condition. In other words, someone would have had to, at some point, reported the dangerous condition to the government before an injury occurred.
The only other exception to sovereign immunity is in cases where a government employee’s negligence caused the dangerous condition to exist in the first place. In that case, the government would be vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence.
Recovery Limitations in Personal Injury Claims against the Government
If you have a successful case against the government, you should be able to recover most damages. The only type of damages that are excluded are punitive damages.
You can, however, recover:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Property damage, and
- Any other kind of compensatory damages.
Talk to a California Personal Injury Attorney Soon
If you believe you have a case against the government, you need to act quickly. You can either file a claim yourself or have an injury attorney do it for you. But you must make your intent to sue known within six months of the incident. The government will respond by either accepting or rejecting the claim. Afterward, you can sue.