In case you are going to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to be aware of the California state’s statute of limitations and comply with it. The details on filing the deadline set by its law, why it is important to do, and when it might be extended are discussed below.
The Standard Time Limit for Personal Injury Lawsuit
The California Code of Civil Procedure’s section 335.1 provides you two years, beginning from the underlying accident or incident’s date, to file a civil lawsuit that seeks legal remedy or compensation for “injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” That comprises just about all imaginable types of personal injury lawsuits, as most of them are governed by the principle of “negligence”.
What if you Do Not File before the Deadline?
In case you try filing a personal injury lawsuit two years after the date of the underlying incident or accident, it is near-certain that the defendant will point out this fact to the court. Then, it will summarily dismiss your personal injury case. If that occurs, you will have lost the right to seek compensatory damages for the injuries you suffered, no matter how major they might be as well as no matter how obvious the liability of the defendant was, unless you are entitled to the statute of limitations’ extension under an exception.
It is important to note that it is not just a factor in case you have made up your mind to take the case to the court via an official lawsuit. The two-year deadline set by the state law is also vital to your position in the injury settlement negotiations with the other party and her or his insurer. Moreover, if the deadline has passed, then obviously you will have lost all your leverage. Ultimately, it makes filing the lawsuit a procedural impossibility.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are exceptional scenarios, as identified by the state, where the mandated lawsuit filing deadline might be extended. Below are circumstantial examples that may likely alter the standard twenty-four-month timeline for doing it.
- The injured party did not find out, and was unaware of the facts that would have made them to suspect that they suffered harm due to the wrongful conduct of someone else.
- The injured party was below 18 years of age or was “lacking the legal capacity to make decisions” (that is subject to short-term or permanent mental illness) when the underlying accident occurred.
- The defendant left the state at some point after it or prior to the time when the lawsuit could be filed against him or her.
If you have doubts about how the deadline statute applies to your case, particularly if it is looming or has passed, it may be high time to talk with a skillful and experienced personal injury lawyer.