If you’ve been harmed by someone else’s negligence in the state of California, you have the right to seek legal action. Nevertheless, you must file your lawsuit in accordance with certain deadlines. These deadlines are known as statutes of limitations and there is a different statute of limitations for almost every type of case.
Deadlines and Exceptions
For personal injury claims, you only have two (2) years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The clock begins ticking the moment you sustain an injury, but you may be able to extend the “tolling time” if you discover your injury later on. This is known as the “delayed discovery” rule.
Other exceptions and extensions apply, as well. For example, people who were hurt as minors may be able to file a lawsuit after age 18 and litigation that crosses state lines can present unexpected difficulties.
For a complete list of rules and exceptions, please see the California Code of Civil Procedure.
Actions Against the Government
Anyone who wishes to file suit against a government agency must first make an “administrative claim.” For a successful case, you must file this claim within six (6) months of the date of your injury. If your claim is denied, you have another six (6) months to file a lawsuit, and if your claim is accepted, you have two (2) years from the date of your original injury to file a lawsuit.
As you can see, legal action is especially complex when filing against the government. For clarification, we encourage you to speak to one of our attorneys at the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin.
What If I Miss the Filing Deadline?
If you miss your filing deadline, you can still try to pursue legal action, but opposing counsel will be able to have your case dismissed in a court of law. Once your case is dismissed, you lose your right to legal action entirely.
Even if you have a valid exception, you will need to understand the law fully and prove the circumstances of your case in court.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in identifying and adhering to these exceptions (outlined above).
Start Your Claim Today
The sooner you file your lawsuit, the stronger your case will be. Evidence and witness statements are easier to gather immediately after an injury takes place, and you will not risk violating the statute of limitations.
While we understand you may need time to process what happened, you still need to reach out if you are nearing a litigation deadline.