The California False Claims Act protects the state from fraudulent claims regarding a wide variety of personal injuries. The Attorney General monitors the enforcement of this Act by the California State Attorney General. The False Claims Unit of your corporate fraud department usually investigates false claims based on referrals from various state, federal and local government agencies, comments from general citizens and complaints from financial institutions. The entire process of receiving a complaint, investigating it thoroughly, gathering evidence, presenting that evidence to the appropriate district attorney, and finally defending your company in court can take years. In many instances, the case may never be resolved, resulting in a large settlement or judgment being awarded to an injured party.
The California False Claims Act generally covers three categories of personal injury claims that may be brought by anyone who has been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Those categories are motor vehicle accidents, personal injuries, and disease or death caused by another person or their property. The Attorney General may grant damages, fines, and other remedial actions in cases involving one or more of these categories. However, any action based on the California False Claims Act must be brought within three years of the date of passage of the statute.
The California False Claims Act was created so that individuals harmed due to another individual or property can recover civil penalties and other remedial actions from those responsible for that person or property’s negligence. To determine whether an individual’s negligence proximately caused a person or property harm, a California court must consider all relevant circumstances surrounding the incident, including: whether the individual acted in bad faith, the extent of damage or injury, and any damages resulting from the event. Additionally, the court must look at all parties’ liability for the event, including: all parties involved in the accident, any medical malpractice injuries resulting from the incident, and any punitive damages as the court may order a party to pay after finding that the individual or entity was liable for the resulting damage or injury. If you have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, you should speak with a qualified California attorney who is knowledgeable in the matter.
Generally, the California False Claims Act allows recovery when an insurance company or any of its officers, agents, or employees, has intentionally violated the provision of this act. The provision of this act is written in a very specific way to avoid allowing creators of incidents to seek damages through the courts. Each of the five subdivisions of this act has its own requirement when it comes to filing a suit in the local courts. In addition to the subdivisions, the California False Claims Act also includes a number of defenses to a suit, including: whether the claim is a private or a public claim, the nature of the claim, the amount of compensation sought, and whether the claim is founded on an intentional tort, a breach of contract, or a consumer remedy. No defendant or plaintiff is allowed to raise these defenses, except those who can prove the claim is valid.
There are some defenses that are available to the party seeking recovery under the California false claims act. For example, there are times when an insurance company has not intentionally violated the law and has not intended to commit fraud. If this is the case, the party may be able to raise the defenses of mistake or negligence if it can be proved that the attorney general did not know about the deception and did not discipline the attorney general or provide any other type of legal counsel to the client regarding this act. This can only be determined in a court of law. However, most claims will be denied because it is very difficult to establish that there was a mistake or neglect on the part of either the insurance company or the attorney general.
If the attorney general does not take action to award your claim for the actual damages you are entitled to you may be able to ask the court to issue a federal False Claims Act recovery. If your case goes to trial and a jury decides in your favor, you will be entitled to recover treble damages which would be the sum of all actual damages plus the cost of all attorney’s fees. There are also times when the California false claims act allows recovery of statutory damages. Statutory damages are the most common damages that are awarded in civil lawsuits.