The personal injury statute of limitations in California is two years from the accident date. However, every accident is unique, which can affect the amount of time available to file. Generally, if a personal injury case is not filed within the deadline, it cannot go forward in court. That means the injured party loses the ability to receive damages or compensation.
A Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Salamati Law will ensure claims are filed within the statute of limitations for your particular case. It is always critical to seek prompt legal advice after an accident. Crucial evidence can vanish if the claim is not investigated right away, and it’s possible that the statute of limitations is shorter than anticipated.
When a government entity is involved in a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations is much shorter. The statute of limitations for a slip and fall claim generally falls within the two-year limit if the accident occurs on private property. However, suppose the fall occurred on government property, including public schools, parks, libraries, and a host of other sites. In that case, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is just six months.
Government entities include:
Some people may not realize the property on which the slip and fall took place belongs to a government entity. For instance, hospitals are often run by the county or by the state. The same holds for some nursing homes and similar facilities. If the injured person assumes they have two years and postpones contacting a lawyer, they could find out they are close to or past the deadline for filing a claim.
Should the entity deny your claim, you have just six months from the denial date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In some circumstances, the statute of limitations is tolled or paused. That means it is either suspended temporarily or does not begin until a specific time. For example, if the plaintiff is in prison, the statute of limitations is tolled until their release or two years from the incident date, whichever is first. If the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the event, the statute of limitations begins on their 18th birthday.
Another situation where tolling may come into play is when the plaintiff is incapacitated. The statute of limitations resumes when they are again considered competent. If the defendant is out of state, the statute of limitations is tolled until they return to California.
There are situations in which the injured party does not realize they were hurt at the time of the incident. If the plaintiff discovers they were injured one year later, that is when the statute of limitations starts. Delayed discovery cases usually involve medical malpractice, not personal injury claims involving motor vehicle accidents or slip and falls.
A victim of a serious crime could sue the perpetrator for personal injury if that person were convicted of the charges. For felonies such as rape or attempted murder, the statute of limitations is 10 years from the defendant’s discharge date. Depending upon the sentence, the statute of limitations could last decades.
There are many reasons why it’s important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after suffering a personal injury. Insurance companies will try to settle your case for as little as possible. Never agree to an insurance settlement, no matter how good it may sound, without speaking with an attorney. A lawyer knows a fair settlement amount for your claim and fights for you. Most personal injury cases are settled, but we will go to trial if necessary. Contact Salamati Law today and schedule a free, confidential consultation. There is no fee unless you receive compensation. We will determine whether you have a claim and let you know your options. Se Habla Español.