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Is There a Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim?

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Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, they should be entitled to compensation for what happened to them. Most personal injury claims are resolved through insurance carrier settlements, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the alleged negligent party. However, injury victims need to be aware that there is a time limit called the statute of limitations that dictates how long they have to file these claims.

The California personal injury statute of limitations

Every state is responsible for setting a time limit for how long victims have to file civil personal injury lawsuits. When we turn to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, we can see that the state’s personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that any injury victim will have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the person or entity who allegedly caused the injury.

What if you miss the filing deadline?

If a personal injury victim fails to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in their case within the required time frame, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation at all. The court will almost certainly dismiss the case. Regardless of how significant their injuries may be, and regardless of how clear the other party’s liability is, the time will have passed to recover the compensation the victim is entitled to.

There are various reasons why an injury victim may miss a deadline to file a case. Often, this occurs because the injury victim simply was not aware that there was a statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California. It is strongly suggested that any person injured by the careless or negligent actions of others seek immediate legal assistance. A skilled Orange County personal injury attorney will be able to offer a free consultation for your case, and they will likely make you aware of any time limits pertaining to your case.

Are there any exceptions to the California personal injury statute of limitations?

There are very few exceptions to the California statute of limitations. In some circumstances, the statute of limitations “clock” may be delayed or paused, which can extend the two-year deadline mentioned above. These delays or pauses can occur under the following circumstances:

  • The injury victim did not discover and was not aware have any facts that would cause them to suspect that they had suffered some sort of injury caused by the wrongful conduct of another individual.
  • The injury victim was under the age of 18 or was “lacking the legal capacity to make decisions.”
  • The person who allegedly caused the injury left the state of California at some point after the incident but before a lawsuit could be filed.

Personal injury cases arise in various ways

California personal injury claims can arise in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Commercial truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents (premises liability)
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Defective products (product liability)
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Bus accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Crime or violent attacks
  • Dog bites
  • Dangerous premises

This is not an exhaustive list of the ways injuries occur in this state, and victims should seek assistance from a skilled Orange County injury lawyer as soon as possible so they can get started on their claim.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and we handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes.