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What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Case In California?

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Posted By DAM Firm | June 25 2021 | Personal Injury

Anytime a person is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, they should be able to recover compensation through either an insurance settlement or through a personal injury jury verdict. These cases can become complicated, and they can be time-consuming. However, injury victims do need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in the first place. Here, we want to discuss the California personal injury statute of limitations and how this could apply to your particular case.

What Does California Law Say?

When we look directly at the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, we can see that the personal injury statute of limitations in this state is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that injury victims will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in their case within this two-year timeframe. If they fail to do so, they will not be able to recover any compensation at all, regardless of how severe the injuries are or how negligent the other party was.

There are some exceptions to the California personal injury statute of limitations that you should be aware of. There are instances where the statute of limitations “clock” can be delayed or paused. The three cases where this is most likely to occur include:

  • If the injury victim did not discover and was not made aware of any facts that would have caused them to reasonably suspect that they suffered harm due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual. In these instances, the delayed discovery of the cause of their injury could lead to the statute of limitations also being delayed.
  • If the injury victim was under the age of 18 or lacked the legal capacity to make decisions (i.e. because they were subject to a temporary or permanent mental illness), then the personal injury statute of limitations will be paused until the person reaches the age of 18 or until they regain the capacity to make decisions.
  • If the person who allegedly caused the injury leaves the state of California at some point after the incident, but before a lawsuit can be filed, the statute of limitations will be paused until they returned to the state.

What About Claims Made Against the Government?

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of a government employee or government entity in California, there is a separate set of guidelines they need to be aware of when it comes to filing these claims.

Any claim against a city, county, or state government agency or their employees must be filed within six months from the day the injury occurred. In these cases, claimants have to abide by a strict set of procedural rules in order for their claim to be successful (California Government Code section 911.2).

How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect Insurance Carriers?

The personal injury statute of limitations has no bearing on any deadlines put in place by private insurance carriers. In general, insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines. If an injury victim fails to follow the deadlines imposed by insurance carriers, this could result in their claim being delayed or even denied. If you were injured, you should contact a personal injury lawyer in Orange County asap to find the best path forward for your case.

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