Orange County Auto Accident Legal Blog

Statute of Limitations In Personal Injury Car Accident Cases In California

Personal Injury Car Accident

Personal Injury Car Accident

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 lays out the statute of limitations in personal injury cases in California. The statute of limitations dictates how long from the date of the accident the injured party has to file a lawsuit against the negligent person or entity (in California it is two years for personal injury due to negligence of another driver). It applies to auto accidents in personal injury and wrongful death scenarios in California (where negligent act results in injury or death). The cases to which it applies include motor vehicle accidents of all kinds including truck, motorcycle, car, bike, pedestrian, slip and falls, and dog bites.

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 provides:

“Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”

The law means that an individual or entity has only two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for damages under personal injury or wrongful death theories. Once the two years has passed, a person loses the right to file a lawsuit for their damages or other relief. Their claim will be fully barred without any ability to collect for damages from anyone, period. The limitations period exists as a matter of good public policy to require those injured to pursue claims in a timely and diligent manner lest people be held their entire life to the possibility of an unexpected lawsuit.

Should you find yourself a victim of an auto, truck, motorcycle, bike, pedestrian or car collision, or if you’ve lost a loved one in a wrongful death vehicle collision, you can call our Orange County California accident injury lawyer at 1 (714) 265-7526. When you call him, he will come to the phone to provide you with a free legal consultation with no obligation to hire him just because you got some needed advice about your case. Or if you prefer, just submit a case evaluation request form at and he will call you back within 12 hours to provide you with needed legal counsel, for free. Because the legal process involves several time frames that if violated can weaken your case or bar your case from recovery, it is important to get legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as you can.

Special Rule For Actions Against Government Entities

If the party at fault for the collision is a public entity such as a city, county, state, school, or public transport service, a claim must be made against that public entity within 6 months from the date of the incident in California. There are additional time limitations in which to file a lawsuit after a public entity denies the claim. Because of the shorter and varying time frames that could be applicable to your case against a public entity, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights and NOT to rely on what you read on the internet alone. For example, the statute of limitations can also be tolled (stopped from running for some period of time) if the injured person was not mentally competent to bring a suit (they were put into a coma for example). However, this certainly does not mean that because an injured person was hospitalized, on medication or drunk or even unconscious for some time that the statute will be extended in these circumstances. So call an attorney for proper legal counsel on limitation periods for your unique case!

Minors Statute of Limitations In Personal Injury Car Accident Cases In California

Minors have a longer period of time to sue for personal injury as the result of auto accident in California. The statute is extended for minors and they may bring an action for a period of time after their 18th birthday. To be safe, any such lawsuits should be filed by the injured person who was a minor at the time of their accident, within one year after their 18th birthday if it has not been filed previously by the parents of the minor. Also to be safe, any claims against public entities should still be filed by the parents of the minor within 6 months of the accident. Although many attorneys believe that a minor has two years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit due to the change in the statute of limitations for adults some years ago, our advice is not to wait that long in case the statute is applied oddly by some court down the road, especially to accidents occurring prior to the change in the statute.

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Statute of Limitations In Personal Injury Car Accident Cases In California

Statute of Limitations In Personal Injury Car Accident Cases In California

A claim for damages in auto accident cases against the insurance company of the negligent driver can be made at any time following the incident. This is the first step a lawyer takes during the representation of a personal injury auto claim. The lawyer will determine who was negligent, what their insurance company is, how much liability insurance in available. Then, the lawyer will make sure that their client is receiving proper medical attention for injuries. Once the injured client’s damages become certain enough, the lawyer will make a settlement demand against the insurance policy of the negligent driver. Should the case fail to settle, the attorney will have attempted to build the strongest case possible from day one so that an effective lawsuit can be brought. The lawsuit must be brought within 2 years from the date of the accident. Before that time runs, the attorney will generally not file a lawsuit while he or she builds the case up against the negligent party.

Insurance companies make money by not paying claims. They are sophisticated and have excessive amounts of legal and financial resources. From day one the insurance company will be looking to find ways to cut down the value of your claim to pay you as little money as possible. This is why it is ever important to retain representation and advice early in your claim. For advice from an experienced attorney in the apporpriate field, call our office at 1 (714) 265-7526. He will give you a free consultation when you call. Protect the value of your case! Get us on the phone right now!