Families of Ghost Ship Victims Must File Claims Within Six Months

As parents and families mourn those they lost in the tragic Oakland Ghost Ship fire a few weeks ago, filing a wrongful death claim against the city may well be the last thing on their minds. But what these families may not know is that time is running short to hold the city of Oakland accountable.

Per California law, Government Code section 911.2, a “claim relating to a cause of action for death or for injury to person or to personal property ... shall be presented… not later than six months after the accrual of the cause of action.” This means that families only have six months from the date of the fire to file a claim against the city.

Why blame the city of Oakland? As I wrote in this prior post, this fire resulted from not only the owner and property managers' total neglect but also the city missing chance after chance to put an end to the impending disaster.

According to Rolling Stone, two families of Ghost Ship fire victims have already taken action and filed lawsuits against the building's owner Chor Nar Siu Ng, Ghost Ship proprietor Derick "Ion" Almena and the promoters and hosts of the performance. These same families have also filed separate suits against the city of Oakland for their negligence in not shutting down the space, which didn’t have the proper permits to be hosting concerts. As the New Year looms, other families will only have five more months to file similar lawsuits regarding the December 2nd fire.

Deciding whether to file a lawsuit is one of the most personal decisions you can make, and it certainly won’t bring back those who perished in this terrible tragedy. But if the parties responsible aren’t held accountable, the trend of turning a blind eye to massive safety hazards will only continue. All any of us can do is our part to ensure that this never happens again, in the Bay Area or anywhere else.

Please don't delay if you are considering action. Waiting longer than six months from the day of death is making a decision not to file and not to pursue your rights against the city of Oakland.
Categories: Wrongful Death