Statute of Limitations in California for Personal Injury
Most people think that people who get hurt in an accident sue right away. The truth is that most people, if they sue at all, usually wait a little while before taking any legal action. If you think about it, if you file too early you won’t really know how bad your injuries were. It’s also hard to determine your damages in the first few months. Sometimes it takes a while for your California personal injury lawyer to file suit. The last thing you want to do is sue for less than you deserve. On the other hand, if you wait too long to sue, you can miss the filing deadline. Here, we’ll discuss the way the statute of limitations works in California. We’ll also explain why this deadline is so important.
Every State Has a Statute of Limitations
If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit in California, you have two (2) years to do so. That’s because the statute of limitations only provides for a couple of years to file suit. By that time, you either know what your damages are, or you don’t. Once you start to get close to that deadline, your case can get harder to prove. Witnesses move and disappear. Insurance companies go belly up. Evidence can become stale. Rather than risk this happen, you want to at least meet with an experienced California personal injury lawyer right away. This way, they can get your case prepared for court.
When Does the Clock Start Running?
According to the statute of limitations, the clock starts ticking on the day of your accident. If you were involved in a car accident, then you’ll go by the date of the accident. If your child was hurt playing with a defective toy, it’ll start on the date of their injury. Once the clock starts, the two years will start to run. It is very rare that your California personal injury lawyer will be able to get this time extended.
Your California Personal Injury Lawyer May Be Able to an Extension
While there are certain situations in which you can get the statute of limitations period extended, it’s rare. In order to convince the judge that you deserve an extension, your California personal injury lawyer will need to prove one of the following:
- The plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident
- The defendant was fraudulently evading service of process
- The plaintiff is declared mentally incompetent
The best thing to do is just assume the court won’t grant an extension. This way, you aren’t disappointed later. You want to get your lawsuit filed with time to spare. This way, if you need to amend the lawsuit at some point, you have some time to do so.
What Happens if You Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the statutes of limitations, your case will be dismissed. Either the judge will dismiss it on their own or the defendant will file a motion to dismiss. The court will have no choice but to grant their motion. Once this happens, you won’t get a second chance to pursue the defendant.
Meet with a Skilled California Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
If you’re hurt in any sort of accident, you should call our office right away. Sit down with one of our experienced California personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. This way, your attorney has plenty of time to prepare your case. Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation.