Do you know the time limit that California law allows you to file a personal injury case? You will lose your right to recover damages if you delay. It is essential to understand the California statutes of limitations regarding personal injury law. California law can be overwhelming for individuals trying to understand the complex legal language, stipulations, and limitations that govern what you can and cannot do. Hann Law understands that this can be overwhelming.
This article will explain the statute of limitations, the exceptions to it, and other information that will help you be better prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.
What is the statute of limitations in California?
Personal injury lawsuits are barred for two years after an accident or injury occurs in California. There are exceptions to this rule, but the default is two years. Your legal rights to sue another party end after that time.
Although two years may seem like a long time, it is essential to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to start the process and protect your rights. Your case can be filed faster if your attorney has the evidence.
What if the statute of limitations has expired? Can I still sue?
Even if the statute has expired, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit. However, it is almost always impossible to succeed. This is because defendants will often use expiration to dismiss a case. Except for some exceptions provided by state law, there is no way to alter this.
Additionally, settlements are subject to the personal injury statute. The law prohibits you from seeking damages for more than two years. You will not be able to sue the defendant if you do not settle within that time frame.
What are the exceptions?
California recognizes that you may not be able to file your legal claim within the time limit. Some situations may allow you to extend the time limit or delay the start of the two-year statute of limitations to preserve the fairness of the statute.
This is the most common. This rule applies to situations in which you don’t know you’re injured immediately or that another party’s negligence caused your accident. In these cases, the statute begins to run when you realize you are injured or learn of the negligence of another party.
The second type of extension is if the defendant of your lawsuit leaves the state prior to your filing. The lawsuit cannot proceed because you are unable to serve the defendant. The statute of limitations ceases to apply if the defendant is not in California. If the defendant returns to California, they could be subject to additional legal problems.
A personal injury lawyer will first review your case and determine if there is a valid claim. They can also determine if any extensions may be available to you to allow you to file. There are many extensions available, which can be used to cover a variety of situations. An experienced attorney will help you keep up to date with the situation and identify any issues as they occur.
How about suing a government entity?
California’s state and local governments can make personal injury claims. However, they work differently. Your injury must first be due to negligence by the entity. You may be injured by a badly maintained government building. A second requirement is that your lawsuit follows a certain sequence of events.
You should file an administrative claim before you can file a personal injury suit against the government. This is the first step to all other claims. You must file it within six months of your injury. After you have filed, the entity has 45 days to respond.
You can file a lawsuit against them if they do not respond within two years from the date you sustained your injury (the standard statutes of limitations). You can file a lawsuit even if they deny your claim. However, you must file it within six months.
Are malpractice claims included in personal injury law?
Although medical malpractice cases can cause personal injury, they are treated as a separate type of case by the law. They have their own statute of limitations, one year instead of two, and are subject to unique restrictions.
You should ensure that your lawyer is experienced in handling malpractice cases if you are considering suing. While malpractice claims are similar to personal injury claims in many ways, they can also have significant differences.
John W. Stenson Law Office can help
John W. Stenson Accident and Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles can help you if you’ve been hurt in an accident in California. We are here to assist you. We offer a thoughtful approach to personal injury cases. We help you get the compensation that you deserve while you concentrate on your recovery. We are experienced litigators who know how to win. Contact us today to learn how we can help get you the justice that you deserve.