You have the right to file a personal injury claim in California if the injury you experienced was caused by someone else’s blatant negligence or wrongful act. However, just like in other states, California puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. The legal term for this is “statute of limitations.”
Keep reading to learn more about the statute of limitations and other important information about personal injury law to ensure that you protect your rights.
California’s Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in California for personal injury lawsuits is two years. While this is true, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney as soon after your injury as possible to ensure this time limit doesn’t pass without you filing a claim. It can take time to gather evidence, and your attorney needs as much time as possible to do this.
Do You Have the Right to Sue After the Statute of Limitations Passes?
While you can file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations passes, the likelihood of it being successful is very low. This is because the defendant in your case will likely use this expiration as a defense to have the case dismissed altogether.
Along with this, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases applies to the settlement you may receive. The law does not allow you to seek damages after two years. Outside that window, the defendant in your case doesn’t have an obligation to offer you a settlement.
What Exceptions Exist for This Time Limit in California?
The state of California has recognized that some circumstances may keep you from being able to file a legal claim within the two-year time limit. To ensure that things are fair, there are situations when the two years can be delayed.
One of the most common reasons for this is cases of delayed discovery. This is a situation where you are unaware that you are injured or that another party’s negligence was the cause of your accident. In this case, the statute of limitations will start when you discover the injury or discover that another party’s negligence caused it.
Another exception to the rule is if the defendant leaves the state before your lawsuit has been filed. The lawsuit can’t move forward since the defendant cannot be served. In this case, the time limit clock will be stopped while the defendant is out of the state. Also, when they return to California, they may face additional legal issues.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your Legal Case
Knowing your legal rights is a must if your injury was the result of an accident caused by someone else. Hiring a personal injury attorney to help with your case will also pay off and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait to reach out for legal assistance so the attorney can get to work on your case right away.