What Kind of Time Limitations Apply To My Case?
In any accident involving personal injury or wrongful death, California law places certain time deadlines to bring your claim called “statutes of limitation”. Under these laws, you must have either settled your injury claim with the other responsible party or his insurance company, or have filed a lawsuit in the appropriate court against the other party within these time periods.
In cases where an adult is injured, you normally have 2 years from the date of the accident to either settle your claim, or to file a lawsuit in court. In the case where a minor child under the age of 18 is injured, the law normally suspends this 2 year deadline until the child reaches his or her 18th birthday, and then he or she has another 2 years thereafter until their 20th birthday to settle their claim or file suit.
In the situation, however, where the injury or death was caused by the negligence or fault of a governmental entity, like a city, a county, or the state, or any of their employees, then the normal statutes of limitation described above do not apply.
In these types of cases, the law prescribes a different period of time, and also requires that you first file a written claim with the responsible governmental department or agency within 6 months after your accident in order to properly bring your claim, and before you can file any lawsuit for your injuries and other damages.
Your failure to strictly comply with these time deadlines will in most cases result in your cases being legally barred, and you’ll forever lose any rights you may have had to monetary compensation due to the accident.
As you can see, it’s extremely important to have an experienced personal injury attorney properly evaluate these kinds of questions, as well as the liability and damage aspects of your case, as soon as possible after the accident in order to properly advise you of your rights under the law.