The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Usually, you only have two (2) years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your losses in a personal injury case in California, but sometimes, it can be even shorter, and sometimes you can get a little extra time. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can answer your questions about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
Some Cases Have a Shorter Filing Deadline
If you have a claim against a government agency, usually, you must file the claim within six months of the injury. For example, if the local street department negligently busted a water main pipe that flooded the road and caused you to get hurt in a car crash, you must file your administrative claim against the government agency within six months of the accident.
This deadline is far shorter than the standard 2-year statute of limitations you would face if you were suing a careless driver who is a private individual rather than the government. It is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after getting hurt in an accident that was someone else’s fault.
You Could Get a Little Extra Time in Rare Cases
You should not count on it, but sometimes, the judge will grant a little extra time, also called “tolling” the statute of limitations. If the victim is under the age of 18, they might get a little extra time. Also, the judge might allow a little extra time if the defendant is in prison, legally insane, or out of state. You will want to talk with a lawyer about whether these situations apply to your case.
Myth About Settling
Some people make a mistake that destroys their chance to take legal action because they do not think the statute of limitations applies to their case. Let’s say that you are negotiating with the insurance company, and you expect to settle your claim. You do not plan to file a lawsuit, so you do not understand why the filing deadline is relevant for you.
The reason the insurance company is willing to negotiate with you is that you could file a lawsuit against the defendant, the insured. After the filing deadline passes, you can no longer file the lawsuit, so the insurance company no longer has a reason to negotiate with you or pay you any money.
Different Filing Deadlines for Some Related Lawsuits
Some cases that seek monetary damages for harm done because of negligence have different filing deadlines than the general personal injury statute of limitations. These cases are types of personal injury cases, but they have special deadlines.
For example, medical malpractice has a one-year statute of limitations, usually starting with the date of discovery. A victim of a felony has one year from the date of conviction to file a civil lawsuit against the offender, unless the event was a serious felony, in which case, the victim could have up to 10 years to file the lawsuit.
The bottom line is that the statute of limitations can destroy your right to go after compensation, but the rules are confusing. It would be best to talk to a California personal injury attorney about your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation.