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Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in California

If you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are likely wondering how long after the crash will you be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation. You may have been overwhelmed after the accident and not taken legal action, or you may just now be feeling the side effects of your initial injuries. Although there are exceptions, the state does have specific time limits on when you can file a lawsuit against the defendant.

Depending on the nature of the accident, California has a different statute of limitations for car accident claims. It is important to be aware of these statutes as they limit the time you have between the time that the accident occurs and filing a claim. If you attempt to file a claim after the statute of limitations has lapsed, you will likely be denied. If you have any questions or need assistance with the filing of the claim, reach out to our team at your earliest convenience.

Flyer reading, “Don’t Lose Your Opportunity for Recovery: Be in the know about how long you have after an accident to file a claim!”

Different Statute of Limitations for Different Types of Car Accidents

  • Personal Injury Claims: two-year statute of limitation following a car accident. After this period, claims are forever barred from being brought to court for the accident.
  • Property Damage Claims: three-year statute of limitations following damage resulting from a car accident.
  • Wrongful Death: If a family member is killed in a car accident the same statutes of limitations apply. Some governmental entities are immune from wrongful death suits, therefore it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer that is experienced in wrongful death suits to handle your case.
  • Automobile Accident with a government entity (state, local, or federal): six months statute of limitation. If the government entity denies the claim, individuals have six months from the date of denial to file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim.

Every case is different. Statute of limitations can vary depending on who is the plaintiff and the defendant. That is because you will need to file a different type of lawsuit in each case. For instance, if you are dealing with a government agency, such as a state or county, you will need to file an administrative claim with that government agency. This must take place within 6 months from when the incident occurs. This is why it is essential to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

Taking Action Prior to the Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Case

California law allows accident victims to file a lawsuit immediately following an auto accident, but that does not mean you should. Recovering from serious injuries may take a long time, resulting in additional treatment, if the initial treatment is unsuccessful. Therefore, you and your treating medical providers should have a confirmed treatment plan in place before you settle your claim.

Having an experienced personal injury lawyer while you deal with medical treatment is essential, as they can coordinate with medical providers to ascertain the amount of care and cost of that care in order to quantify your damage claim. Too often, accident victims settle their claims quickly, resulting in out-of-pocket expenses that add up.

If you have questions about filing a claim or about an accident, call BD&J, PC at (855) 906-3699 for a free consultation!
We will be in touch within 24 hours.

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