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How Long Do I Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim in California?

Personal injury claim

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or perhaps it’s just bad luck. But there’s no doubt about it. Accidental injuries can affect millions of Americans in any given year.  In 2018, for example, nearly 98 million peoplewent to hospital emergency departments to be treated for unintentional injuries. And, as the National Center for Health Statistics reports, nearly 25 million people went directly to the doctor seeking treatment for accidental injuries that year.

In any case, medical bills can add up quickly. Fortunately, you may have options for legal recourse if someone else caused the Los Angeles accident in which you were hurt. Specifically, you may be able to find a personal injury lawyer in California to represent you in a lawsuit. If you win, you can be compensated for your financial and non-financial losses.

The question is how long do you have to make a personal injury claim in California? Keep reading to find out.

The California statute of limitations for personal injury claims

In legal circles, the deadline for suing someone is called the statute of limitations. This deadline varies depending on several factors, including the type of case.

For instance, in California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is usually two years from the date of the accident/injury.  So if you got hurt in a wreck caused by someone else on February 5, 2020, you have until February 5, 2022 to sue that person. Or, if the car crash that caused your whiplash happened on March 24, 2021, you have until March 24, 2023 to file a lawsuit against the other driver.

Some exceptions to the California statute of limitations for personal injury claims

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Let’s say that you were involved in a collision caused by another driver back in 2020 and you had no obvious injuries. When you went to the doctor to get checked out the day after the crash, he didn’t find anything amiss, either. But last year, a specialist finally linked your chronic back pain to trauma sustained in the accident.  The deadline for filing a lawsuit in this case is one year from the date your specialist discovered the injury.

The statute of limitations is also different if you were involved in an accident with a municipal vehicle. In other words, if you got hurt in a collision with a Los Angeles sanitation truck or city bus, police car or fire engine, there is a different deadline for initiating a claim. If that happened, you would have six months in which to inform the city by filing a notice of claim.That being said, you should be aware that there is also a one-year deadline for submitting a notice of claim following an accident with a municipal vehicle in some cases.

You should also be aware that the process for submitting a claim to a municipality is different than the process for filing a personal injury lawsuit. As knowledgeable civil litigators in Los Angeles, we can help you with that process if necessary. If the municipality denies your claim, we can then review your legal options, including filing a personal injury lawsuit.

What does it mean if the deadline for making a personal injury claim is tolled?

When a statute of limitations is tolled in a personal injury case, it means it has been put on a temporary hold.

This may happen if the defendant is no longer in California, or cannot be located after all reasonable efforts are exhausted. However, the statute of limitations is not tolled in a personal injury case stemming from a car crash where it is possible to serve of a summons and complaint upon a defendant located in another state.

What if I missed the deadline for making a personal injury claim in California?

In most cases, a court will not hear a personal injury case initiated after the statute of limitations expires. Therefore, it’s imperative that you consult our qualified Los Angeles car accident attorneys today.

Once you schedule a free consultation, the skilled civil litigation attorneys here at LawPLA can quickly and easily assess your case. We’ll then review your legal options so you can make an informed decision. Reach out to the Law Office Of Parag L. Amin P.C. on our website, or call our Los Angeles offices to arrange an appointment now.


PLEASE NOTE: This is not a representation, warranty, or guarantee of a future result or outcome. Every case is different just like every one of our clients.