The California personal injury statute of limitations requires injury accident victims to file a civil lawsuit within two years of the date of their injury, in most cases.
If you fail to take legal action within the prescribed period, you could lose your right to recover compensation for your damages. Although you might have some options for extending this deadline, you should take legal action as quickly as possible after a car accident or any other type of personal injury.
In Los Angeles and throughout California, the experienced personal injury lawyers of the Saeedian Law Group work hard to protect the legal rights of injury accident victims.
We help ensure that you don’t miss any critical deadlines, preserving your right to recover compensation for your medical treatment costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other damages you incurred. Our attorneys are compassionate and knowledgeable, and we put the full power of our firm’s resources to work for you.
Contact us today to learn more about how the CA personal injury statute of limitations might affect your claim.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in California?
Every state, including California, legally limits the time during which injury accident victims can pursue legal action. As set forth in the California Code of Civil Procedure, victims must file a lawsuit for personal injury not later than two years after the date of the accident in which the injuries occurred. For medical malpractice, you must file within three years or within one year of having discovered your injury.
These limits, which might seem overly restrictive for many injury accident victims, actually serve several important purposes.
Statutes of limitations compel injury accident victims to promptly bring their claim forward to be heard by the court. By discouraging delays, the court system can run more efficiently and best serve the interests of the people who want to have their cases heard.
More importantly, these legal time limitations provide plaintiffs—in this case, the injury accident victims—with an increased chance of getting the justice and fair compensation they deserve. Over time, witness memories can fade. Evidence can be lost or destroyed. By bringing your case promptly, you have the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Defendants also benefit from these laws. Statutes of limitation help ensure that any evidence against them is fresh and relevant. Further, defendants won’t have to worry about facing legal action for events that occurred years in the past.
Are There Exceptions to the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in California?
In some cases, you can pause the statute of limitations from running. This practice, known legally as “tolling” the statute, effectively extends your deadline to file a lawsuit in civil court. Some options for tolling the statute are as follows.
In some cases, personal injury victims sustain injuries that they aren’t aware of. Under the statute of limitations for personal injury in California, you can file your lawsuit within one year of the date you discovered or should have been able to discover a previously unidentified injury.
Lack of Majority
If a victim has not yet reached the age of 18, known as their majority, the statute of limitations tolls until the victim reaches his or her majority.
Lack of Legal Capacity
If an accident victim lacks mental competence or capacity, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until or unless the victim becomes legally competent.
If the defendant is out of state or cannot be located, the clock won’t start running until such time (if any) that they return to California.
Another important exception involves defendants that are government entities. You must notify any government entity of your intent to pursue legal action within six months of the injury accident. Even if you are well within the statutory limitation period, you cannot file a lawsuit against a government entity without having provided this notice. After filing your notice, the governmental entity must respond to your claim within 45 days. If the entity does not respond, or if it denies your claim, you must file a lawsuit within six months.
Although these exceptions do exist, it is important that you understand whether they apply to you and, if so, how they might affect your claim. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your legal right to pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Compelling Reasons to Act Quickly After an Injury Accident
Although you might believe that you have ample time to take legal action under the statute of limitation for personal injury in California, it is in your best interest to act as quickly as possible after an injury accident.
Pursuing a personal injury claim can be a complex and time-consuming process. In most cases, your attorney will pursue a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company first. Negotiating a settlement gets a check in your hand more quickly than filing a lawsuit and taking your case to court. However, if the insurance company won’t settle, you might already be well into the timeframe established in the statute of limitations.
Contacting an attorney immediately after a California car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or another type of personal injury helps your lawyer build the strongest possible case for you. Investigators will have the ability to interview witnesses while their memories are fresh and gather evidence before it deteriorates or is destroyed.
Seeking Help from a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles
In LA and throughout southern California, the personal injury attorneys of the Saeedian Law Group provide aggressive, compassionate legal representation to injury accident victims. Our experienced litigators have helped thousands of clients to date, recovering millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts.