In a recent California medical malpractice case, the California Court of Appeals dismissed a case after the plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements for notifying a public entity of a claim. The plaintiff claimed that a surgeon negligently performed a surgery to remove her gallbladder at a California hospital, and that she was permanently injured as a result. Evidently, the surgery was performed on February 17, 2017, and on January 31, 2018, she served the hospital with a notice of intent to file a medical malpractice claim. The hospital claimed the notice was filed late, and rejected the claim. On April 6, 2018, the plaintiff submitted an application for leave to present a late claim to the hospital, and on April 24, 2018, the plaintiff filed the medical malpractice claim in court.
Under Section 945.4 of the California Government Code, to pursue a claim against a public entity, a written claim must first be made with the entity. Under Section 911.2, in the case of a personal injury claim, the claim must be made within six months of the accrual of the cause of action. If the claim is not made within six months, the claimant can make a written application to the public entity for leave to present the claim, which must be made “within a reasonable time not to exceed one year” of the accrual of the cause of action. If the application for leave is denied by the public entity, the claimant can petition the court to hear the case.