If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, car crash, or similar incident, you could pursue legal action. However, when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit in California, you must do it within a specific timeframe. Otherwise, you could potentially lose out on compensation to cover your medical bills and other costs.
Our personal injury attorneys in San Diego want to provide you with information on the statute of limitations in California and how it affects your personal injury claim/lawsuit. Here are four things you need to know:
#1 – The Statute of Limitations Expires After Two Years in California
The California Code of Civil Procedure gives you two years to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The deadline takes effect on the date the accident occurs. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, you’ll have to prove that the at-fault party was negligent in causing your injuries. On the other hand, a personal injury claim will clear the way for settlement negotiations.
#2 – Missing the Deadline Will Hurt Your Case Significantly
Let’s say that you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires. The defendant will point this out to the courts, effectively nullifying your case. You’ll then lose out on the opportunity to recover financial compensation for your injuries. Even if the defendant’s liability is significant, the court can still dismiss your case.
The statute of limitations applies to personal injury settlement claims and lawsuits. The deadline plays a huge role in holding the defendant and their insurance company immediately accountable. You will lose all of your leverage if you wait too long to act.
#3 – There Are Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
California does have a few exceptions that can delay, extend, or pause the statute of limitations. Here are a few examples where circumstances can modify the two-year timeline:
- Example #1 – You weren’t aware that you suffered any harm due to someone else’s negligence. The facts of your case must indicate that there was no reason to suspect that you sustained injuries. This is also called the “delayed discovery” rule. This rule may only apply to certain types of cases.
- Example #2 – Individuals under the age of 18, or anyone who lacked the legal capacity at the time of the accident, could not file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. This could have been due to temporary or permanent mental disability.
Even though California court could grant an exception for your case, you still shouldn’t wait to take action. It’s always better to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit sooner than later.
#4 – You Have Less Time to File a Claim or Lawsuit Against the Government
If the negligent party represents a government agency, you have even less time to pursue legal action. Typically, you only have six months after the accident to inform the government defendant of your intention to obtain compensation.
If you have any questions about the statute of limitations in California, don’t hesitate to give us a call. The experts at HHJ Trial attorneys in San Diego can provide you with answers. You can also schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options in recovering compensation for your injuries.
Testimonial from Crystal, Personal Injury Client in San Diego
We had the best experience with HHJ Attorneys; specifically Adam Hepburn. He was great at communicating and answering any questions we had from the beginning and all the way to the day of court where he went above and beyond to make sure we knew exactly how to proceed after. I would highly recommend this law firm, they really make you feel like you are not just another client and are very personable, knowledgeable and responsive.