Statute of Limitations for a California Car Accident Claim

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Statute of Limitations for a California Car Accident Claim

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Posted By DAM Firm | January 18 2024 | Car Accidents

If you have been injured in a car accident in the state of California, you need to be aware of the time limits related to filing a claim to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses you may have sustained as a result of the incident. Every state, including California, sets specific time frames for how long individuals have to file personal injury claims, but there are also other time frames you should be aware of.

California Car Accident Claim Deadline

What California Law Says

Any injury victim, including victims of car accidents, must file their claim against an allegedly negligent party within two years from the date the injury occurs (California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1). 

If an injury victim fails to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver or other negligent party, they will almost certainly lose the ability to recover compensation for their losses. The claim will get dismissed, leaving the injury victim without recourse from other avenues.

There are various exceptions to the California personal injury statute of limitations that could apply to car accident cases:

First, if an individual is under the age of 18 at the time they sustain an injury, the two-year “clock” does not technically begin until the individual turns 18. However, we strongly encourage parents or guardians of children involved in vehicle accidents to file a claim as soon as they know about an injury to avoid any later claimed delays or denials.

Additionally, there may be times when a person does not develop any signs or symptoms of injury until some time after the incident occurs. Delayed onset injuries are not necessarily minor. They can lead to significant complications for a victim. The “discovery rule” in California could allow victims to file claims against alleged negligent parties after the initial two years after the incident occurs. 

What Do Insurance Carriers Say?

Insurance carriers will likely be involved in your vehicle accident claim. However, insurance carriers have internal reporting deadlines that may not be immediately clear. The best rule of thumb is to file a claim with your insurance carrier as soon as possible after the incident occurs. A prompt filing helps avoid any delays or claim denials.

When you initially report an accident to your insurance carrier, you do not have to go into much detail. In fact, simply letting the insurance carrier know where the incident occurred, the contact information of others involved, and that you are seeking treatment for injuries is enough for the first report. Refer any further questions to your attorney.

Do You Need Help From an Attorney?

After you sustain an injury or property damage in a vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may need an attorney to help you recover compensation for your losses. A car accident lawyer in Orange County can thoroughly investigate your claim and handle every aspect of the case. They will engage in conversations with other parties involved and handle any negotiations for a fair settlement on your behalf.

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