The statute of limitations in every California bus accident case expires two years from the date of the crash. However, when the bus is operated by a city, state, or county, you must submit an additional claim with the appropriate government entity within 6 months of the accident. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations deadlines may cost you the opportunity to obtain fair and full compensation for your losses.
It is crucial that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney immediately if you are considering a bus accident injury claim.
Understanding the statute of limitations
The statute of limitations exists in some form in every state, and it applies to every lawsuit. This statute prescribes a window of time that a plaintiff has to file their claim. This window of time changes not only from state to state but also from one type of claim to another.
According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, a person with an injury caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another must commence their lawsuit within two years of the date the injury occurred. This statute applies to all negligence claims, including bus accident personal injuries.
Filing suit against public entities
The statute of limitations holds the same whether the owner of the bus that injured you is a government entity or a private company. However, there is an additional step you must take to sue a city, state, or county in a bus accident case. With these claims, you must first file a legal claim with the government entity to be entitled to pursue legal action. The deadline to file this claim is six months from the date of the crash.
Most government entities provide forms that can be used to meet this requirement. However, it is crucial that you are careful when preparing the forms, as anything you say can be used against you. With your recovery and financial future at stake, it is in your best interest to work with a Los Angeles bus accident attorney from the very beginning.
Consequences of allowing the statute to expire
If you allow the California statute of limitations to expire before you file your personal injury lawsuit, the consequences could be severe. You can expect the defendant to immediately file a motion to dismiss your lawsuit, as the law bars filing claims after the statute has expired in most cases.
The same is true if you do not comply with the notice requirement in claims against public entities. If you do not notify the appropriate government entity within the six-month window, you could miss out on your chance at financial compensation forever.
Exceptions to the statute
While rarely used, there are some exceptions to the California statute of limitations you should be aware of. These exceptions can pause the two-year clock from expiring, giving you additional time to bring a claim. It is never the best practice to assume the courts will grant additional time to file a lawsuit, however.
One exception occurs when the defendant is absent from the state in the time between the date of the accident and the expiration of the statutory period. While the time they are out of state can be excluded, this exception does not apply in many cases. Circumstances where this exception may not be used include out of state motorists and individuals that have left the state for the purpose of engaging in interstate commerce.
One of the most common exceptions involves minors. If you are under the age of 18, you are not considered to be competent to bring a lawsuit, meaning the statute of limitations typically does not begin to expire until their 18th birthday. This same exception applies to any adult that is found to have a mental disability or to be incompetent.
There are a variety of other rarely-used exceptions, including bankruptcy and a voluntary agreement to extend the time to file a lawsuit. Contact Salamati Law to discuss whether an exception to the statute applies in your case.
Let Los Angeles bus accident lawyers guide you
If you have suffered an injury in a bus accident, there is no time to delay. Many buses are owned and operated by public entities, which only gives you a few months to move forward with your claim. Call Salamati Law today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.