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The King's Statute of Limitations: The California Tort Claims Act

Posted by Justin R. Wilmers | Jul 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Were you injured as a result of a governmental entity's negligence? The King has important deadlines you must follow in order to obtain any recovery against him.

Sovereign Immunity 

Sovereign immunity developed centuries ago as a legal doctrine in England that prevented the King from being liable for any harms caused by him or his sovereign. After all, the courts are his anyway, right! In other words, sovereign immunity prevents a sovereign or state to be subjected to its own Court's jurisdiction unless the state so graciously approves. While this concept seems outdated and downright unfair (it is), the doctrine of sovereign immunity has been adopted by every state in America in varying forms that ultimately make it much harder for the injured to receive compensation from any governmental entity.  

California Tort Claims Act ("CTCA")

In California, the concept of sovereign immunity is codified as the California Tort Claims Act (Cal. Gov. Code 810, et seq.) and requires strict compliance with its procedures if you are injured by a governmental entity or its employees acting within the course and scope. The CTCA applies to all civil liability claims for money or damages. Injured by a negligent public bus driver - CTCA. Injured by a dangerous condition of public property - CTCA. Injured intentionally by a government agent - CTCA. As nearly all injuries caused by governmental entities and/or its employees are subject to the act, it is important to understand the requirements. 

Claim Requirements and The Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for bringing a claim for personal injuries is generally two years from the date of the accident. (See Cal. Civ. Proc 335.1) Not so when it comes to the King! In order to successfully bring a claim against the King, you must file a claim with the public entity within six months from the date of the accident, or otherwise be barred from bringing a lawsuit subsequently. 

Below is a list of the information that you must include in your claim:

(a) The name and post office address of claimant;

(b) The post office address to which the person presenting the claim desires notices to be sent; 

(c) The date, place and other circumstances of the occurrence or transaction which gave rise to the claim asserted; 

(d) A general description of the indebtedness, obligation, injury, damage, or loss, incurred so far as it may be known at the time of presentation of the claim; 

(e) The name(s) of the public employee(s) causing the injury, damage, or loss, if known; and 

(f) The amount claimed if it totals less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) as of the date of presentation of the claim, including the estimated amount of any prospective injury, damage, or loss, insofar as it may be known at the time of the presentation of the claim, together with the basis of computation of the amount claimed. If the amount claimed exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000), no dollar amount shall be included in the claim. However, it shall indicate whether the claim would be a limited civil case. 

(Cal. Gov. Code 910.)

With the shortened claim notice period, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you were injured by a governmental entity or employee. Justin and Caleb have litigated numerous claims involving California public entities and are ready to assist you. 

About the Author

Justin R. Wilmers

Justin R. Wilmers is the co-founder of Miller Wilmers, APC and former collegiate ice hockey national champion.


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