The California False Claims Act

The California False Claims Act protects Californians from fraud and promises compensation for those who have been injured or suffered injuries due to another person or company. The California False Claims Act allows the Attorney General to file a civil action to recover civil penalties and treble damages against any individual who knowingly makes a false statement or document with intent to defraud the State or solicit money or other property from the State. For instance, if you were working at a construction site and a crane accidentally fell on you, that is one example of where the false claims act can be used. In another case, if a construction worker was injured while attempting to replace a ceiling fan, the workman’s compensation might be awarded to cover his medical bills and loss of income. This is not limited to only the injuries sustained while performing state-related work; this includes all damages, fees, interest and penalties that arise as a result of a false claim or suit.

California False Claims Act

 

The California False Claims Act can also be used in instances where an individual is injured, has suffered an illness, or any other type of harm caused by a product or service that was defective, misaligned, dangerous, or otherwise violates public safety regulations or laws. Such violations can include unsafe drugs or medical devices, wrongful death, or other injuries or damage caused by the products of others. The California false claims act is broad in nature and is commonly referred to as a class act. A class action is similar to a lawsuit in that claims are filed separately within a single lawsuit. A plaintiff in one such suit cannot file a claim in another.

Introduction

The attorney general is authorized to institute civil law enforcement proceedings to determine whether a civil law suit should be filed in order to recover monies, penalties and judgments that have resulted from a California false claims act. If these monies are recoverable, the attorney general is also authorized to institute a civil action for treble damages. Treble damages are an amount that is computed by the court to be added to the actual award received for personal injury claims. This computation is done on a pro-rata basis.

There are many elements that need to be proven in order to successfully receive compensation under the California false claims act. First, a victim must show that he or she suffered an injury or other damages as a result of a defendant’s negligence, recklessness, willful misconduct, or other misconduct. Second, the victim must establish that the conduct occurred in California and that the injury or damages resulted from such conduct. Third, the victim must establish that such conduct was committed by a defendant that is a party to the lawsuit. Finally, victims must establish that they incurred, have loss, or continue to incur pain, suffering, and economic losses as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Information

The party filing the complaint must also prove that the claim or lawsuit is a “frivolous and irrelevant proceeding” within the meaning of the California False Claims Act. This includes claims for injuries that take place on or off the California public roadways. Additionally, any claim or lawsuit must be commenced within three years of the date of the event it purports to represent. This is referred to as the statute of limitations.

A plaintiff need not repay the expenses advanced by a defendant to another party nor retain costs if the claim is not ultimately successful. Neither does a plaintiff need to pay attorney fees unless the case is resolved and awarded a final judgment. If the California false claims law applies, a guilty party may be ordered to reimburse the expenses advanced and the attorney general may be ordered to recompense the person or entity responsible for the “fruitless and worthless” pursuit of the litigation.

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