How Long After An Accident Do You Have To Report Injuries in California

Judge Hammer

In the state of California, legal cases have a statute of limitations. That means that a claim cannot be brought against a defendant after a prescribed period of time. Just as no one should be charged with a crime based on old or stagnant evidence, public policy deems it unreasonable to sue someone based on old or inaccurate information. 

This is one of the reasons why statutes of limitations exist. The statute of limitations is the time limit that an injured victim has to file a lawsuit or settle the case in the court of law to receive damages from the at-fault party or entity. After that time limit has expired, the injured victim loses their legal right to recover damages or have their case heard by the courts. In the state of California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident. There are, however, important exceptions written into the law that can either extend the statute of limitations or shorten it. 

Exceptions To the Statute of Limitations 

California has many exceptions to the statute of limitations. In some instances, the statute of limitations may be tolled or extended. In others, your time to file a lawsuit is shortened. If you are represented by a personal injury lawyer, they can determine the time limit for your particular case. Every case is different.  In some cases,  it is advisable to file a lawsuit right away.  In other cases, the better course of action may be to file a lawsuit after you have finished any necessary medical treatment.  In any event, the earlier you reach out to an experienced personal injury, the better.  

Don’t Let Time Run Out

Just because you possibly have up to two years to file your personal injury claim does not mean you should wait that long to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. Preparing a lawsuit may take time. If you wait too long, you could run afoul of the statute of limitations and lose your right to seek compensation. Therefore, you should not wait until the last minute. There have been some unfortunate incidents where cases have been dismissed because the injured party brought the case forward only days after the statute of limitations was up.  If you have an attorney, this should not happen. If the statute of limitations is fast approaching on your case, the personal injury lawyers of the Grossman Law Offices can often file a case within days. Call today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

While we strive to provide as much information as possible based on the types of questions people typically have on this topic, this only provides general information. The law is continually changing and personal injury litigation is complex. Always consult an attorney about your rights in your particular case.

What should I do after my accident to help my personal injury case?

If you’re involved in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident, you should request a police report. Ask the officer on scene for your case number. With other types of accidents, documentation of this sort may be more difficult. Most stores make an internal incident report for slip and fall cases, but they may not be willing to hand that over to you. You should at least note the name of the manager and the time of the incident. 

Regardless of what type of accident you were involved in, you need to be mindful of what you say. Without legal representation present, you may make a statement that can be misconstrued or taken out of context. Allow your personal injury attorney to conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf.

What if a child was injured in the accident? How long do they or their parents have to file a claim?

When children are injured in accidents, the statute of limitations is “tolled” until the child reaches 18 years of age, unlike the standard two-year time limit. This means that the child has two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim. However, there are sometimes exceptions to this rule.

If you have been involved in an accident with your children or had children in your care at the time of the accident, or want to sue on behalf of your children, then our attorneys can speak to you directly about California statute of limitations injury cases involving minors. The age of your child at the time of the accident, their current age, and the type of injury they suffered tremendously changes how the case is handled.

What If the Statute of Limitations Runs Out?

If the statute of limitations runs out, there is a likelihood that you will not be able to have your case litigated. This is why it is vital to speak with a personal injury attorney before it is too late.

Can I afford a personal injury attorney?

One of the biggest reasons why people do not seek a personal injury attorney’s legal advice early on is because they are afraid that they will not have the money for professional legal guidance. However, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will be paid if they win for you. The money that goes to them comes out of the settlement that they win for you in negotiations or court.

Why You Need A Personal Injury Attorney

If you are unsure when the statute of limitation runs out on your claim, then speak to a lawyer who can help you calculate how much time you have left. It’s important to hire an attorney now because the law is continually changing. The decision of a single court can affect the way that other cases are decided. An experienced attorney will know about how a change in the law affects your case. Do not run out the statute of limitations for your claim. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are waiting to hear from you.