Venice Beach Sunbather Run Over by County Vehicle
Police are baffled as to why a Los Angeles County maintenance truck ran over a sunbather in Venice Beach last week. The 49-year-old woman was in critical condition after being struck by the SUV. The county employee said that he did not see the sunbather; it is not clear whether he was driving distracted.
Nearby residents are bothered by the amount of county employee traffic on the beach. Some have complained that county employees drive across the beach regularly, even when nothing is going on.
California tort claims and government immunity
Because in this case the sunbather’s injuries were caused by a county employee, any legal action pursued will be somewhat complicated by the California Government Tort Claims Act. This state law sets forth special rules that must be followed in order to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a government entity.
States have sovereign immunity, meaning they cannot be sued without their permission. California grants permission to sue the state, counties, and other government entities but only if strict requirements are followed.
In order to sue the state, California requires:
- Written notice of a claim to the government entity
- Within 180 days of the accident or incident
- The notice must be made at least six months before the lawsuit is filed
Because the notice requirements are so strict and time sensitive, it is a good idea to speak with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer even if you are not sure whether you will file a lawsuit. Failing to provide written notice of a claim could prevent you from filing a lawsuit in the future.
Ellis Law knows how to handle government claims
Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at the Ellis Law Firm understand the special complexities involved with filing claims against California government defendants. In a similar case in the early 2000s, another sunbather on Venice Beach was injured when a county utility vehicle that was driving on the beach rolled over her. The weight of the vehicle pressed the victim into the sand. As a result, she suffered scrapes, bruises, four cracked ribs, and a broken arm. Even more devastating than the physical injuries was the psychological distress that she experienced as a result.
After complying with all notice requirements of the Tort Claims Act, Ellis Law was able to recover $350,000 on behalf of the victim. We have continued to help similarly situated victims ever since.
Government is not immune from committing torts
Though the government is insulated from legal action to a certain extent, such entities still commit wrongful acts against civilians. In fact, incidents are quite common. Legal recourse is available so long as victims play by the rules.
Examples of government negligence or intentional torts include:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Car accidents
- Police brutality
- Failing to maintain public buildings, leading to slip and fall injuries
If you have been injured by a the actions of a government employee, you may be entitled to compensation but the time to file is limited. Ellis Law offers skilled advice to victims. Call 310-641-3335 to schedule a free case review with a Los Angeles injury lawyer to discuss your options