Limitation Period to File Personal Injury Claims in California
Many people in California, unfortunately, lose their right to file a personal injury claim because they fail to take legal action within a specified period of time. Personal injury claims, major or minor, are subject to a specific statute of limitations in California. These limitations define a deadline that claimants must follow to avoid losing their rightful claim. People lose their right to sue the party responsible for the personal injury if they fail to file a lawsuit within the defined period In California.
If you fail to understand the statute of limitations that applies to your claim then it could result in losing your right to sue. This is where you need to seek the assistance of skilled and experienced legal attorneys. Discussing the statute of limitations with expert attorneys at the earliest will help in gathering all the information that you need to file your claim within the appropriate length of time.
What is the Relevance of the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations refers to the law that defines the time period within which people must bring forward their grievances and file legal claims in Court. The limitations to filing legal suits vary on a case-to-case basis as well as the State where acclaim is being filed.
These laws ensure that the legal claims are settled at the earliest, the legal rights of victims and accused are protected, and prevent the piling up of legal claims in Courts. It helps in the quick delivery of justice to the victims and expedites the handling of legal claims in Court. With time important details related to the personal injury case get blurry, and victims and eyewitnesses forget a lot of crucial details. This implies that the injured victims may not be able to prove who was at fault and the defendant may not be able to get fair representation. All of that can lead to an unjust legal outcome.
When does the period to file a claim start under California’s Statute of Limitations?
The deadline in California depends on the type of case you are trying to file. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, there is a two-year filing deadline when it comes to car accidents.
- In case of the death of the victim, the two-year limitation period starts when a person dies. Accidental death could be immediate or after a certain time due to accidental injuries sustained by the victim.
- The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years but that can change based on the specific type of claim filed or the details of the claim.
- If you are filing to get compensation for damages to your car, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim [California Code for Civil Procedure, section 338]
- In case your case involves an injury caused due to Government negligence, then you have just six months to proceed with your claim.
- After the expiry of the limitation period, the Court will reject your plea and refuse to hear you. Hence no legal remedy shall be available to you.
Exceptions to the Rule of Two Years to File Personal Injury Claim
There are mainly three exceptions to California’s Law of Limitation:
- Unsound Mind: In cases where the victim has been left mentally incapacitated due to heavy injuries caused by the accident, the limitation period gets extended until the victim regains full consciousness and is mentally sound enough to sue the defendant and represent the facts of the case.
- Defendant is Unavailable: Timeframe gets extended when the defendant is either imprisoned or mentally incompetent.
- Accidents involving minors: You cannot file any legal claim until the party at fault is a minor and reaches the age of 18. You will have to wait till the child attains an appropriate age to proceed with suit filing.
- Delayed Onset-Injuries: When injuries inflicted were not immediate and appeared at a later stage, but are relatable to the accident you had. California’s discovery rule allows victims to bring in additional Defendants once the statute has been protected. The statute of limitations is not per se extended but you may add the defendants during litigation.
When to Start Filing a Claim After You Have Been Involved in an Accident
If you believe that you have adequate grounds for filing a personal injury claim, then you must act swiftly to avoid losing your right to compensation. The statute of limitation can vary according to a person’s circumstances, so get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer to draw your timeline for taking legal action.
Before filing a lawsuit, an injury claim requires a thorough investigation, and all the relevant pieces of evidence need to be recorded or listed to prepare a solid case. That must be finished including the filing of suit in Court within the specified duration to prevent dismissal of the case on the grounds of expiry of the applicable statute of limitations.
Even if you plan to settle out of court, even then ensure that you are negotiating within the limitation period, or else the insurance providers or defendants will have no interest in passing on the compensation or benefits if they know that the period has expired. However, the best advice is to visit take expert advice on this matter and assess your claims rightfully as accidents involve both monetary and non-monetary losses.
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