Lawyer Not Exercising Reasonable Diligence In a Car Accident Case

In Black v. County of Los Angeles (1970) 12 Cal. App. 3d 670 [91 Cal. Rptr. 104], the claimant retained counsel less than two weeks after her husband was killed in an automobile accident. Her counsel filed suit against the driver of the other car but did not investigate the condition of the road. Approximately 10 months after the accident, the claimant's counsel took the deposition of the other driver who indicated the condition of the road caused the accident. Counsel then obtained a copy of the traffic report prepared by the California Highway Patrol. The report showed the measurements and exact location of the accident and indicated a condition which suggested a potential cause of action against the county. Counsel filed a tort claim approximately six months after expiration of the 100-day period for filing a claim. In affirming the denial of a petition seeking relief from the claims filing statute, the Black court held even though claimant had acted diligently in obtaining counsel, her counsel did not exercise reasonable diligence in failing to obtain a copy of the accident report within the statutory time period. (12 Cal. App. 3d at p. 676.)