My fiance was shot three times in a robbery attempt by a guy, and the shooter has been sentenced to 29 years in jail for the crime. My fiance is now permanently paralyzed from the chest down. What are the steps we need to take to bring a case against the state where this crime happened?


Generally, no suit for money or damages may be brought against a government entity (or against a government employee acting in the scope of employment) unless and until a timely claim has been presented pursuant to the Government Claims Act (Gov.C. § 810 et seq.) and either acted upon or deemed rejected by the passage of time [Gov.C. §§ 945.4, 950.2, 912.4]. If a government entity could be a potential defendant, there is a six-month claim filing deadline under the California Government Claims Act (Gov.C. § 911.2).

A claim shall be presented to the state by either delivering it to an office of the Victim Compensations and Government Claims Board, or by mailing it to the same [Gov.C. § 915(b), (e)]. Where two or more persons suffer separate and distinct injuries from the same act or omission, each person must submit a claim; one cannot rely on a claim presented by another. This is so even where one person’s injuries are “derivative” of the other’s [Nelson v. County of Los Angeles (2003); Shelton v. Super.Ct. (State of Calif.) (1976)].

If the public entity sends proper written notice of the rejection of the claim, plaintiff has six months thereafter to file suit against the entity [Gov.C. § 945.6(a)(1)].

In pursuing claims against the State, it is advisable to seek help, as soon as possible, from a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury cases to be properly guided and represented when necessary.

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