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Accidents on Government Property in California

Sep 15, 2020 | Government

What Are the Elements Required to Win a Premises Liability Case?

California Civil Code section 1714 outlines the requirements to prove that a defendant is liable for your accident on their premises. The four elements required to win a premises liability case are the following:

  • The defendant is the rightful owner (or lessee, occupant, etc.) of the property in which the accident took place
  • The defendant was negligent in their maintenance of the property
  • The plaintiff was harmed
  • The defendant’s negligence was a significant factor in causing harm to the plaintiff

What Counts as Government Property?

Government buildings are not the only premises that would fall under the definition of government property. Nearly all public space is considered government-owned and will require a different claim process than those within private-owned premises. Some examples of government property include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Roads and highways
  • Public parks and beaches
  • Public restrooms
  • Government buildings

What is the California Tort Claims Act?

Before the California Tort Claims Act and Federal Tort Claims Act, it was very difficult to sue the government for any premises liability related issues.

These laws established guidelines that allowed people to gain compensation for injuries that occurred on government property. They are very similar to those of a private premises liability cases. The CTCA outlines the elements as follows:

  • The government was negligent in maintaining the property
  • The plaintiff was harmed
  • The government’s negligence substantially contributed to the plaintiff’s harm

How Is the Legal Process Different When the Accident Happened on Government Property?

The main difference in filing a CTCA claim vs. a private claim is that the statute of limitations (amount of time one has to file the claim after the injury) is much shorter. Premises liability claims on private property are typically 2 years, sometimes longer, while a CTCA claim requires one to make the claim no longer than 6 months after the accident occurred.

After filing a CTCA claim, the government has 45 days to respond, in which they can reject the claim, accept the offer in full, or compromise with the plaintiff in the form of a settlement. They also have the option to reject the claim based on a violation of the time constraints for claims or for a lack of information included in the claim.

Are you in need of legal assistance with an accident that happened on government property? Our legal team at KAASS LAW is ready to help you out anytime! Get in touch with us now at by calling us at 310-933-5171 or by filling out the contact form below.

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