What If You Slip and Fall on Government Property?
"What if I fell on government property can I sue?" Perhaps this is what you're thinking. And the answer is yes – you can sue the government! However, filing claims under the California Tort Act isn't as straightforward as most think. That's why we emphasize the need for hiring a qualified personal injury attorney to represent you.
But before making that decision, here's what you need to know:
Can I Sue the Government If I Fall on City Property?
When you slip and fall on government property in California (including public parks, city walkways, federal buildings, military bases or commercial complexes, and public transportation facilities), you can sue the government; however, unique legal regulations apply.
Personal injuries sustained on the grounds may be legally attributed to the federal government, the state of California, or city governments. The Federal Tort Claims Act or other comparable state tort claims statutes may also cover certain cases. Yet, certain tight time limits exist, and you must initiate legal action within those strict time limits.
For instance, if you slipped and fell at a privately-held property or corporation, you have up to two years starting from the date of injury to settle your damage claim or file a lawsuit to safeguard your legal rights (The California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 provided this deadline with the filing of actions related to injury or death of individuals caused by neglect or wrongful acts of others). However, you have as little as six (6) months with such a case on government property! You'll have to provide the government with your claim's notice within this period and give it an opportunity to respond to your claims.
What Kind of Proof Do I Need in a Slip and Fall Case?
To win a slip and fall injury case in California, you or your slip and fall lawyer must establish four critical components as more likely than not true (clear and convincing):
- The government worker (that is, the defendant acting within the extent of their authority) acted carelessly. Negligence encompasses any careless or irresponsible action that a logical person would refrain from engaging in under the same or similar conditions.
- Negligence on the part of the government played a significant role in creating your accident. Your attorney must demonstrate causation between the government's negligence and the slip and fall event. That is, your accident would never have occurred had it not been for the government's neglect.
- The government had an obligation towards you in the accident; the government owns the building or property.
- You sustained the injury as a result of falling on the property. You must be able to demonstrate that you had compensable losses as a result of the slip and fall, such as bodily injuries, medical expenditures, and lost wages.
However, the government's accountability is limited, and the most significant of which is the discretionary function exception.
Additionally, claims filed must be pursued only under the FTCA regulatory framework, distinct from a complaint made against a private corporation or individual.
Evidently, it can be pretty tricky - additionally, different restrictions apply in terms of time spans within the context as mentioned earlier. Our firm has experienced statutes of limitations on government claims ranging from six months to two years! Each situation is unique, and you require competent legal representation.
You Can't Afford to Make Mistakes.
In contrast to the majority of private sector businesses, government bodies have hundreds of staff dedicated to analyzing and adjudicating the merits of allegations brought against them—you can't afford to make even the slightest error on any of the files you submit.
Errors can result in lengthy delays in handling your complaint. That's the last thing you'd want to go through after suffering a catastrophic injury and in need of financial assistance to pay your bills.
If you've been hurt in a slip and fall accident in California and think it occurred on government property, or if you are unsure, call us for a private legal consultation.