California’s beautiful weather and scenery offer many opportunities for visiting one of our state’s numerous state parks. Whether it be hiking, exploring, or camping with your family, there is no shortage of enjoyable experiences to be had in a California State Park. But like any outdoor activity, the chance of injury is always present, especially when in an unfamiliar or untamed area of a state park. When this happens, you will need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney that can help you navigate these often complicated waters.
Setareh Law is one of California’s leading personal injury firms, with years of experience helping injured clients recover compensation for injuries suffered in California state parks. While it is generally more difficult to make a claim against the government, our firm can help.
State Parks and Injury Liability in California
Traditionally, government entities that oversee and are therefore responsible for common areas like state parks have enjoyed “sovereign immunity.” This means that the government cannot be sued without its consent. However, like any entity, governments still have a responsibility to keep visitors safe. When these entities fail to keep you or your family safe and an injury occurs on government property because of the government’s negligence, they could potentially be held liable for your damages. Obviously, because there is a wide range of activities in a state park, there is also a wide range of potentially negligent acts on the part of the entity, especially if the following elements are proven to have occurred:
- The property where the injury or dangerous element occurred is owned by the government.
- The government agency responsible for maintaining the property knew of the potential danger and did not address it.
- You, through no fault of your own, suffered the injury because of the government’s failure to properly address the issue.
Being injured at a state park means you were on government property at the time. If you were injured because of negligence, you have the right to bring a personal injury claim against the state. The help of an experienced personal injury attorney in this endeavor is vital, due to the complexity of such a claim.
How Can I Sue the State Government or Agency?
In California, there is a strict procedure in place when you want to file suit against the government or a specific government agency. Outlined under the California Tort Claims Act, the procedure for suing a state entity is largely similar, with slight differences from case to case. Still, the following steps must be taken when trying to initiate a lawsuit:
Filing a Notice of Claim
The initial step is to file what is known as a “notice of claim.” This puts the state on notice that there was an incident and there could be a potential lawsuit because of it. You must file your notice within six months of the injury.
The State’s Response
Once your notice is filed, California has 45 days to respond. If the state rejects your claim outright, you can go ahead and file your lawsuit in state court. However, if the state rejects your claim through some other form of notice, you must file your lawsuit within sixty days of the rejection. Lastly, if the state fails to formally respond, you have two years to file your lawsuit.
What Should I Do After My Injury?
In the event that you are injured in a California state park, you should follow the same procedure that you would if you were injured anywhere else:
- Seek medical help
- Inform park personnel
- Document evidence, including photos and videos
- Don’t provide a statement
The last, and perhaps most beneficial step will be to contact our experienced California personal injury firm.
Let Our California State Park Injury Attorneys Fight For You
Just because you suffer an injury on the grounds of a state park doesn’t mean that you can’t be fairly compensated for your injuries. In fact, the state has a higher responsibility to keep its citizens safe when they are on state property. When they fail to do so, you or your family can turn to Setareh Law.
Our experienced California personal injury attorneys fight for our clients’ compensation and dignity, restoring hope and making sure they can move on from their injuries and enjoy their lives. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, in either English or Spanish, call (310) 659-1826 or fill out our contact form.