You have a right to sue a government entity to receive compensation for an injury you may have suffered directly or indirectly because of the conduct of an employee, agent, or the government entity. However, when suing a government entity, there may be additional steps to follow.

Generally, California law requires that each injured person first file a claim directly with the government entity within 6 months of the injury date before filing a lawsuit in court. This step is required mainly because it informs the government entity about your claim, allows it to investigate and collect evidence, and allows it the opportunity to attempt to resolve your claim with you before litigation. You do not have to accept whatever determination the government entity makes. After allowing the government entity to review your claim, you can file a lawsuit against it in court. If the government entity does not first receive your claim, a lawsuit filed against it in court may be dismissed.

There are time limits to file not only a claim with the government entity, but also a lawsuit in court, so act quickly. The time to file your claim with a government entity may vary, but each entity should make this information available to you. A good rule of thumb is to file immediately because there is generally a 6-month time limit to file a lawsuit in court against a government entity. If you file a lawsuit after the time limit has passed, your lawsuit could be dismissed. Thus, you should file your claim with the government entity immediately, so that you preserve your right to file a lawsuit in court.

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