If you suffer a severe bodily injury after falling on another person’s property, you might have a valid claim for monetary compensation through the California legal system. However, there is a limited window of opportunity to do this. Like all civil cases, you must comply with the statute of limitations— which is two years for slip and fall accidents.
The deadline varies from one state to another and even from one type of case to another. While it is generally uniform for injury claims filed in California, there are some exceptions. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer from our firm could guide you on how best to file your claim.
Understanding the statute of limitations
There are two primary reasons why each state has adopted a version of the statute of limitations. The first is to avoid unnecessary delays between the time an injury occurs and filing a lawsuit. This is in part to help the courts avoid a glut of lawsuits.
Also, building a case in a slip and fall claim has its challenges, but it is far more difficult years later. Witnesses could move away, and the property might not even exist in its original form. Secondly, it also exists to protect a defendant from an unfair surprise and to allow them a reasonable amount of time to prepare their defense.
California’s statute of limitations
As noted above, the statute of limitations in a California injury case is two years. A plaintiff who fails to bring a claim before this window could miss out on their chance for financial compensation. This would be the case even if their claim was otherwise strong. This statute is shorter when it comes to filing a lawsuit against a government entity. A Los Angeles slip and fall attorney can help guide you through this process.
If a plaintiff files a lawsuit after the statute of limitations, they should expect the defendant to seek an immediate dismissal. Unless an exception applies, the court may have little choice but to dismiss the claim with prejudice.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations in California
While there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, it is worth noting that these exceptions rarely apply. Because of this, it is never wise to assume it might apply in your case. The exceptions include:
- Delayed manifestation of harm. Some physical injuries are not immediately obvious. If you suffer an injury that only shows symptoms after the statute of limitations expires, you might still have a case.
- Minors. Minors under the age of 18 have two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. This means they may bring an injury claim any time before their 20th birthday, even if the injuries occur years earlier.
- Mental incapacity. A prospective plaintiff that is unable to file a lawsuit due to mental incapacity might be able to pause the statute of limitations until they are in a position to proceed with their claim.
- Departure from the state. If the defendant leaves California after the injury occurs, the statute of limitations might be paused until they return.
Contact our team of Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you have suffered injuries in a fall, it is vital that you move forward with your claim right away. Building a winning case can be time-consuming, and your personal injury lawyer may require extensive time to investigate. If you are ready to get started, set up a free consultation with Salamati Law right away.