After an accident, you are likely confused, shocked, and anxious. Your immediate next steps should include contacting local law enforcement and seeking medical attention. If another person’s negligent actions are to blame for the accident, you might be able to pursue a personal injury claim. However, you must remember that there are deadlines for filing an injury claim in California.
Understanding California’s statute of limitations can be confusing, so it might be in your best interest to contact the Law Offices of J.G. Winter. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Attorney Jeremy Winter can guide you through the claims process and answer any questions you may have.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that set the maximum time that parties have to begin legal proceedings. The goal of this law is to push accident victims to file a claim as quickly as possible. Without a statute of limitations, an injured party could theoretically file a claim decades after the accident. To keep the claims process just for both parties, California sets strict deadlines for filing claims.
How Long Can I File a Personal Injury Claim in California?
California has strict deadlines for different types of claims. For personal injury claims, accident victims have two years from the accident date to file a claim against the negligent party. Some examples of personal injury claims in California include:
- Car crashes
- Pedestrian collisions
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Trucking accidents
If you do not file a claim within the statute of limitations time frame, you run the risk of a judge dismissing your case or an insurer denying your claim. Too many accident victims make the mistake of waiting until they recover from filing a claim or file during their recovery. Unfortunately, injuries may worsen over time and reviewing evidence, filing paperwork, and interviewing witnesses is a lengthy process. In the end, both your claim and health will suffer.
Time Frame to File a Personal Injury Claim against the Government
Personal injury claims against a government agency in California are an exception to the two-year time limit. If you need to file a claim against the state, city, or local government in California, you only have six months from the accident date to file an administrative claim. If an agency denies your claim, you then have an additional six months to file a lawsuit in court. If the agency does not respond, you have two years from the injury date to file a claim.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in California?
There might be some situations where California courts may toll, or extend, the statute of limitations. For example, a court may pause the time limit if a party involved is a minor. The court may then restart the time limit once the individual turns 18. A court may also extend the statute of limitations if a party is out of state, in prison, or mentally incapacitated. The statute of limitations may run again when the person returns to the state, leaves prison, or regains their mental competency.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in California Today
Statutes of limitations for personal injury claims can be confusing. One missed detail, and you might miss out on receiving the compensation necessary to cover medical bills or lost wages. That is why you must speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in California. At the Law Offices of J.G. Winter, we can help you file a claim and inform you of all deadlines. To learn more about our services and what cases we handle, schedule a free consultation by calling (844) 734-2626 or completing our online contact form.