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statute of limitations

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims?

If you have been injured in an accident, time is of the essence. California, along with all other states, has a statute of limitations in place for personal injury claims. A statute of limitations is, essentially, a time limit on the ability to bring legal action on a claim. A delay after an accident could result in loss of critical loss of rights as the statute of limitations can pass quicker than you think. Here, we will go into more detail about the statute of limitations in personal injury claims

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims?

In California, an injured party has two years from the date of the injury to take legal action against those potentially liable parties. This is the state’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. Should you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit before the two-year mark passes, it is likely that a court will refuse to hear your case. Should you try to bring a lawsuit after the statute of limitations is up, the defense will most certainly file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the statute of limitations has passed, and the court is likely to grant the motion.

Without the possibility of facing a lawsuit, an insurance company has almost no incentive to settle your claim. This means that once the statute of limitations runs out or even comes close to running out, your bargaining power with an insurance company in settlement negotiations will dwindle down to almost nothing. Be mindful of the statute of limitations as critical legal rights rest on its observance.

In certain cases, the statute of limitations may be lengthened. For instance, there is the discovery rule which relates to injuries that may not be apparent right away. With the discovery rule, you are allowed one year from the date you knew or reasonably should have known of your injury in order to bring legal action. 

There are also situations in which the statute of limitations may be “tolled.” When the statute of limitations is “tolled” the clock stops until the condition that led to the tolling is resolved. If a minor sustains an injury, the statute of limitations will be tolled until he or she reaches the age of 18. If the defendant is declared legally insane, the statute of limitations until he or she is declared of sound mind. If the defendant is in prison or otherwise unavailable due to being out of state or concealed, the statute of limitations will be tolled until the defendant becomes available.

The statute of limitations can also get complicated when the defendant declares bankruptcy. When bankruptcy is declared, the court will issue an automatic stay preventing any claimant from attempting to collect on debts owed. Should the defendant in your injury case file bankruptcy, your claim cannot be discharged, but you will likely need to wait until bankruptcy proceedings are completed. If the delay forces you to file after the statute of limitations has run, you will be allowed extra time to file.

It is also important to note that there are different rules when an injury claim is against a city, county, or California state government agency. There are different procedural requirements that must be met and there is a six-month time frame in which an injured party must file a notice of injury.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Time is of the essence with your personal injury claim. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the dedicated personal injury team at Compass Law Group. We will get to work for you right away. Contact us today.


DISCLAIMER: Please note, in certain circumstances, these dates may also change depending on your claim. These dates also are used generally and are not applicable to your particular case.

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