Most people don’t realize that when they set foot into an Indian Casino in California, they are actually entering into the sovereign nation of that particular Tribe. Just as when one leaves the United States and crosses into the territory of another country such as Canada, or Mexico for instance, they become subject to the laws of the country entered and their rights as citizens of the United States are significantly affected by the laws of the nation entered. In effect, Indian Casino patrons check many of their rights as citizens of California and the United States, by entering onto an Indian reservation, at the point of entry.

While this is not a problem for the vast majority of persons visiting an Indian Casino, they are still subjected to the same risks as might be experienced anywhere else. Casino injuries are not unheard of, often resulting in liability claims for damages and personal injury against the casino.  Casinos are aware of the potential for injury claims and usually have Tribal laws regarding the claim process. It is always important to make the Casino aware of any injury as soon as it occurs so that they can begin an investigation. It is also very important to get witness information as this is not always obtained by the Casino and can be critical to an injury claim.

The process for making a claim varies from Casino to Casino. Timeliness of the claim is also very important, as an untimely claim can often be rejected without ever addressing the merits of the claim. Even with a properly filed claim, the claim may eventually be rejected after consideration by the Tribal representative charged with investigating the claim.  
A rejected claim will likely be subject to some form of appeal depending on the Tribal Ordinance governing the claims process. However, there is virtually no viable recourse to California or Federal courts. Claim appeals will be governed by the process established by the particular Tribe for dealing with claims by casino patrons. As with any other sovereign nation, the   rules vary from tribe to tribe.

If you have been seriously injured at an Indian Casino, you should contact an attorney familiar with the various tribal laws as soon as possible after the injury.