Ask a government agency to pay you by a deadline

Before you can sue a government agency, you must first file a claim with the agency. If they deny your claim, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit in court. 


To sue a government agency, you'll need to meet multiple deadlines. You'll typically need to send in a claim within 6 months or 1 year of the date the issue happened. If they deny the claim, you have 6 months to sue.

How to turn in a claim

  • Fill out claim form

    Find the claim form for the government agency you're asking to pay you. Many have them online.

    If you're suing the State of California: You can find information on how to submit claims on the Government Claims Program website.

    If you're suing a city or county: Search online or contact the city or county agency to find out how to send in your claim.

  • Send in claim by deadline

    Send your claim to the government agency by the deadline. 

    • 6 months from the injury if you are suing about an injury to you or damage to something you own
    • 1 year from the date a contract was broken or your real estate (house or land) was damaged

    There are exceptions. Review California Government Code section 905 and section 911.2 or talk to a lawyer.

  • Get back government response

    The government has 45 days to get back to you about your claim.

    If the government denies your claim, you have 6 months from the date they mailed the rejection to file your lawsuit.

    If the government doesn't respond by the 45-day deadline, you generally have up to 2 years to start a case from the injury date. 

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    If you aren't sure what your deadline is, talk to a lawyer

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