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Statute of Limitations -
Law Government Claims
This article pertains solely to California
state law claims against government (public entities) and/or
their employees, not claims
based on federal law.
Administrative Claim required:
To sue a government agency or office, you must first file an
claim" with the government office or agency before you file a court
Form and Content:
You must use
particular government office’s or agency’s claim form, if they have a
specific form, to file the claim [Government
Some argue or opine that any
format can be used so long as the claim is made in substantial
conformity with Sections 910 and 910.2. But to be safe and
avoid unnecessary confusion and dispute, use the specific form provided
by the particular government office or agency.
But if there is not a
specific form provided, then your written claim must conform to the
requirements set forth in Government
Code Sections 910(a)-(f) and 910.2.
Personal Injury, Wrongful
Death, and Personal Property Damage Government Claims / Cases:
You must file your administrative claim within 6 months of the date of accrual
of the cause of action.
California Government Code
Section 911.2(a) states:
“A claim relating to a cause
of action for death or for injury to person or to personal property or
growing crops shall be presented…not later than six months after the
accrual of the cause of action…”
How long is six
Probably six calendar months or 182 days, whichever is longer.
6803-6804 and cases that interpreted Section 6803-6804 such as Gonzales
v. County of Los Angeles
(1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 601, 605-606. But since the time
computation method of Govt. Code Section 911.2 might not yet have been
been specifically interpreted by case law, to be safe, one should
shorter time period of the two dates.
What is the date of presentation
(i.e. the filing date)? If you deliver the claim in person, the
presentation/filing date is the delivery date. If you mail the claim,
the presentation/filing date is the date of mailing (and not the date
of receipt). If the claim is mailed, it is usually recommended
that it be mailed via certified mail with return receipt requested.
Breach of Contract, Real
Property Damage, and Other Claims / Cases:
You must file your
administrative claim within 1 year of the date of accrual
of the cause
California Government Code
Section 911.2(a) relates:
“…A claim relating to any
other cause of action shall be presented …not later than one year after
the accrual of the cause of action”.
(There are a certain exceptions to the above rules. See California
Government Code Section
Deadline to file Court lawsuit:
After you file your
administrative claim, the government agency or
office has 45 days to respond to the claim. CA
Government Code Section 912.4.
If the government agency or office denies your administrative claim
during the 45 days, you have 6 months to file a court lawsuit from date
the denial (rejection letter) was mailed or personally delivered to
912.4 and 912.6.
But if the government agency or office does not respond to your
administrative claim during the 45 days, you have 2 years from the accrual
of the cause of action to file a court lawsuit. Government Code
Late filed Claims:
Late filed Claim without asking
permission: If a government claim is
filed later than the time permitted by statute, without a request for
permission file same late, the public entity must (within 45 days of
the presentation of the claim) send a notice to the claimant indicating
that the claim is late. But if no such late notice is given by the
public entity, the untimely defense is waived and not valid. Government
Permission to file late claim:
A Claimant may apply in writing to the public entity for permission to
file a late claim within a “reasonable time” but no later than one year
after accrual of the cause of action. Government Code Section
A public entity must allow (grant) a timely application for permission
(leave) to file a late claim if:
1. There is a showing of
mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect, and the public
entity was not prejudiced in its defense of the claim by the delay;
2. Claimant was a minor during the time for filing;
3. Claimant was physically or mentally incapacitated during
the claims-filing period and as a result could not present a timely
4. Claimant died during the claims-filing period.
Government Code Section 911.6
If the public entity denies the application to file a late claim (or
does not respond within 45 days in which case it is deemed denied), the
claimant may petition the court for relief within six months after the
application was denied. [Government Code § 946.6(b)].
The section 945.6 six-month
period has been interpreted to allow claimant six calendar months or
182 days, whichever is longer, within which to sue. [Gonzales v. County
of Los Angeles (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 601, 605-606]. If the public
entity does not give notice or gives improper notice, the time is
extended to two years from the accrual of the cause of action.
[Government Code Section 945.6 (a)(1)]
If the court then grants the petition for relief, claimant must file
suit on the claim within 30 days after the order granting the petition.
[Government Code Section 945.6 (f)].
GOVERNMENT CODE SECTIONS
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CAVEATS / WARNINGS:
SOL laws are complicated:
Statutes of limitations, and the court rules and cases that interpret
and apply them, are complicated. Even if you believe that the
statute of limitation deadline might have passed or might be extended
by an exception, do not rely on this article, but immediately seek
consultation and legal advice from a lawyer.
information provided in this article is informational, only. The
subject matter and applicable law is evolving and/or constant state of
change. No legal advice is given and no attorney/client or other
relationship is established or intended. The information provided
is from general sources, and I cannot represent, guarantee or
warrant that the information contained in this website is accurate,
current, or is appropriate for the usage of any reader. It is urged,
advised, and recommended that readers of this information consult with
their own legal counsel before relying on any information on this
website or this article.