In the aftermath of an accident, it is natural to focus on immediate concerns, such as medical treatment and recovery.
However, it is necessary to be aware of the timeframe within which you can file a personal injury claim in California. Missing this window can lead to the forfeiture of your right to seek compensation.
The statute of limitations
California, like many states, has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This legal time limit sets the maximum period within which you can file a lawsuit after an incident resulting in injury. In the Golden State, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury.
Exceptions to the rule
While two years is the general rule, exceptions exist. In cases where the injury is not immediately apparent, such as in toxic exposure or latent injuries, the clock starts ticking from the date of discovery. However, this discovery rule has its limitations, emphasizing the importance of prompt action.
Minors and the extended deadline
For individuals under the age of 18, California extends the statute of limitations. Minors have two years from their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim. This provision recognizes the unique challenges minors face in assessing damages and pursuing legal action independently.
In 2021, unintentional injuries sent 21,497,380 people to the emergency room. Whether you are dealing with a straightforward case or one involving a government entity, understanding and adhering to these timelines is important for protecting your rights.