San Diego has agreed to pay an area man $4.85 million in damages for his injuries from a 2014 bicycle accident. Clifford Brown was biking down a San Diego sidewalk when he struck a section of the sidewalk that had been damaged by a tree. He and his bike were thrown nearly 30 feet. Brown suffered injuries ranging from broken bones to a possible stroke.
San Diego Settles With Accident Victims
Brown’s lawsuit is not the first to be filed against San Diego. The city has been named in many sidewalk injury-related lawsuits over the past decade. Brown’s lawsuit, however, is one of the more successful lawsuits to be filed. His $4.85 million recovery is the second-highest award in recent years. Other similar cases San Diego chose to settle before trial resulted in damages ranging between $78,000 and $235,000.
The city of San Diego likely settled in Brown’s case to avoid putting the case in a jury’s hands. A 2012 case, where a jury awarded a Mission Hills man more than $7.6 million, is the only other case where the compensation awarded was greater. The city probably felt that Brown’s case was strong enough to evoke a strong negative reaction from a jury. Instead of leaving it in the hands of an impartial jury, who would be made up of Brown’s peers, they chose to be proactive. In this case, this meant that Brown would receive one of the highest pre-trial settlement awards from the city in history.
Statute of Limitations in Cases Involving the Government
You have the right to file a personal injury claim when you are injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence. In California, you generally have:
- Two years from the date of the accident that caused your injury; or
- One year from the date you learned about an accident-related injury.
This is known as the statute of limitations. This amount of time is different when the defendant in a personal injury case is the government. The statute of limitations in cases against the government is generally limited to 6 months from the date of the injury-causing accident.
The statute of limitations in cases against the government is reduced because the process itself is different. Under the California Tort Claims Act, government bodies are generally immune from civil lawsuits. This includes personal injury lawsuits filed accident victims. If you want to name the government as a defendant you have to go through a special process. This process is essentially the same as requesting permission.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Government
If you want to name the government as a defendant in your personal injury claim you will have to follow a special process. The following is an overview of the step-by-step process involved in filing a claim against the government.
- You file an administrative claim with the governmental body you want to file a claim against within 6 months of your accident.
- The government has 45 days to respond to your claim. They can do two things: approve or reject. Generally, the government will reject your claim.
- If the government rejects your claim this means that they have not agreed to the terms of your claim. They will not admit to fault and they will not compensate you for your injuries.
- When the government denies your claim you then have 6 months to file a personal injury claim in civil court. You may only file this claim if you have already approached the government and attempted to settle the matter outside of court.
- Once the claim is filed with the appropriate court, your personal injury case will continue as a normal civil claim.
- In most cases, the government will want to avoid going to trial and will work with you to negotiate a pre-trial settlement.
This, of course, is a very broad and general overview. There are many rules and regulations that you must follow in order to successfully file a lawsuit against the government. Hiring an attorney to handle your case is the best way to make sure that all of these requirements and procedures are followed.
If you have been injured in a San Diego accident and believe the government is (partly) responsible, do not hesitate to contact us. We have more than 35 years of combined experience as personal injury attorneys. We understand the complexities of the law and can help you recover the compensation you need after an accident.
Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
1230 Columbia Street Suite 560
San Diego, CA 92101