California Code, Government Code - GOV § 23004.1

(a) Subject to the provisions of Section 23004.3 , in any case in which the county is authorized or required by law to furnish hospital, medical, surgical, or dental care and treatment, including prostheses and medical appliances, to a person who is injured or suffers a disease, under circumstances creating a tort liability upon some third person to pay damages therefor, the county shall have a right to recover from said third person the reasonable value of the care and treatment so furnished or to be furnished, or shall, as to this right, be subrogated to any right or claim that the injured or diseased person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, or survivors has against such third person to the extent of the reasonable value of the care and treatment so furnished or to be furnished.

(b) The county may, to enforce such rights, institute and prosecute legal proceedings against the third person who is liable for the injury or disease in the appropriate court, either in its own name or in the name of the injured person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, or survivors.  Such action shall be commenced within the period prescribed in Section 340 of the Code of Civil Procedure .  In the event that the injured person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, survivors, or either of them brings an action for damages against the third person who is liable for the injury or disease, the county's right of action shall abate during the pendency of such action, and continue as a first lien against any judgment recovered by the injured or diseased person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, or survivors, against the third person who is liable for the injury or disease, to the extent of the reasonable value of the care and treatment so furnished or to be furnished.  When the third person who is liable is insured, the county shall notify the third person's insurer, when known to the county, in writing of the lien within 30 days following the filing of the action by the injured or diseased person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, or survivors, against the third person who is liable for the injury or disease;  provided, however, that failure to so notify the insurer shall not prejudice the claim or cause of action of the injured or diseased person, his guardian, personal representative, estate, or survivors, or the county.


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