The statute of limitations is one of the most important aspects of personal injury law to consider when filing a lawsuit. It is one of the first things your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will review to determine the prospects of your case. If you’re not familiar with this concept, we will explain what it means and how it can affect your claim.
How Do the Statute of Limitations Work?
Statute of limitations laws are set by each state and can also vary with each type of case. Not filing a lawsuit by the deadline usually means you lose the right to sue a defendant, regardless of their degree of fault or negligence. This typically means an attorney or the court will automatically dismiss your case.
For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations in California is two years. If you’re filing a claim against a government agency, whether it’s a city, county, or the state, there is just a six-month time limit. There are strict rules when it comes to filing a claim against a government entity.
When Do They Begin?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases begins running the day you were hurt or of the incident that caused your injuries. If you were in a car accident, the clock starts running on the day of the crash. There are few exceptions.
What Are the Exceptions?
The “discovery rule” is an exception to the standard deadline associated with an injury case. In certain circumstances, the filing deadline for a lawsuit can be extended. For example, you didn’t yet know you sustained an injury as a result of an accident, and had nor reasonable basis for knowing so, prior to the original statute of limitations deadline. You also might not have yet known an injury was caused by the defendant’s actions.
Can the Deadline Be Extended?
In most states, the deadline is extended when the injured party is a minor, has a mental illness, is in jail, has been declared insane, or is disabled. The statute of limitations “clock” will pause if the defendant leaves the state after causing an accident, and resume once they return and be extended by an amount of time equal to the period they were out-of-state. Suspending the statute of limitations is known as “tolling”.
What Are the State of California Limitation Periods?
While the deadline is two years for most personal injury cases, other time periods may apply depending on the case. Here are some common injury types and their deadlines:
- Defamation: 1 year
- Medical malpractice: 1 year
- Wrongful death: 2 years
- False imprisonment: 2 years
- Property damage/trespassing: 3 years
- Fraud: 3 years
- Child sex abuse/assault: 5 years after discovery, or when the victim turns 40.
- Breach of oral contract: 2 years
- Breach of written contract: 4 years
- Serious felony victim: 10 years
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Suffering a serious personal injury can have major long-term impacts on your life. An experienced personal injury lawyer can proceed with your case and file a claim within the deadline of the statute of limitations in California. At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, we have recovered millions of dollars in damages to provide clients with the compensation they deserve. To learn more about how state law may affect your case, and to obtain a free case evaluation by a seasoned personal injury attorney, contact us online or call Jacob at 888-952-2952.