Civil Litigation Legal Topics

File a Claim or Forget Your Suit Against a Public Entity!

Most lawsuits seeking money or damages against a public entity or public employee acting within the scope of  employment, must be preceded by a proper administrative claim under the Government Claims Act (formerly known as the Tort Claims Act) (Govt C §§810–998.3). The reasons for the claims presentation requirements are very practical: They give the governmental entity a chance to settle just claims before suit is brought and, by permitting early investigation of  the facts, enable the entity to defend against unjust claims and correct the conditions or practices that gave rise to the claim.

The claims presentation requirement also has a draconian edge to them: If a claim is required and not timely submitted, the case is over before it begins.  This makes it extremely important that attorneys understand the deadlines for filing a claim, which depend on the type of cause of action involved.