California Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
What you need to know
You may have heard the term, “statute of limitations.” Here the experienced personal injury attorneys at Golden State Lawyers explain the term and what it may mean to you and your injury claim. First, a statute of limitation is the deadline required by law for filing a lawsuit. In California, for personal injury cases, that deadline is generally two years from the date of the accident resulting in injury or damages. However some types of injury claims have different applicable statutes of limitation. When the required deadline passes, absent very unusual circumstances, you will no longer have a viable legal claim for compensation for your injuries.
Unfortunately, not all injuries are immediately apparent. For example, a head or brain injury may start out as just a mild headache. You or a loved one may think nothing is really wrong. However, as time progresses, symptoms may worsen and what was once perceived as a mild injury becomes much more serious, requiring visits to expensive medical specialists for proper care and treatment. People injured in accidents often do not realize that even when the full scope of the injury is not obvious right away, in most cases the statute of limitations begins to run when the accident occurs, not when they discover the injury.
Time does run out
Many people believe that one or two years is ample time to file a personal injury lawsuit. They are often surprised how fast time can pass, especially when undergoing treatment for injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by the acts of another, you should seek immediate medical attention and the services of a personal injury attorney, preferably one with specific experience with your type of accident. Whether the accident involved a collision with another vehicle (such as a car, truck, or bus), involved a fall on someone else’s property or an injury due to a defective product, immediate action is important. Your attorney can advise you on the necessary steps to prove a claim and how long it may take to implement those steps. For example, meticulous research will most likely be required to gather evidence. In serious accidents medical experts, safety engineers, and accident reconstructionists may need to be consulted. Locating important witnesses before their memory fades can also be critical.
Steps you can take to prepare your case before the statute of limitations expires
The more prepared you can be, the more the time within the California statute of limitations can be used strategically. Here are some steps you can take:
- Keep careful notes of medical treatments
- Keep all bills
- Keep photos of any property that was damaged as a result of the accident in a safe place
- Respond as quickly as you can to requests for information from your attorney
Together with your attorney, you can meet the deadline and file a personal injury claim. At Golden State Lawyers, we work hard to ensure you receive full and fair compensation to address present and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact us
today and tell us about your case.