Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

If you or somebody you care about is injured due to the actions of another individual, company, or entity, you could be entitled to various types of compensation for your injuries or losses. Often, securing this compensation involves filing a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. However, there are various limitations in place regarding how long an injury victim has to file these lawsuits. It is crucial to understand personal injury statutes of limitation in place in California.

Statutes of limitation in California Injury Cases

There are various statutes of limitation that you need to be aware of in California, particularly concerning injury cases.

  • Personal injury claims: 2 years from the day the injury occurs.
    • The vast majority of personal injury cases have this two-year limitation. This includes cases involving vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, product liability claims, assault, battery, and wrongful death.
  • Medical malpractice claims: 1 year from the date the injury victim knew or should have known about the injury, or 3 years from the date the injury occurred (whichever is earlier).
    • These cases are specifically relegated to mistakes and negligence by a medical professional that causes harm to a victim.
  • Property damage claims: 3 years from the date the incident occurs.
    • Property damage claims are often filed along with personal injury claims. However, property damage victims do have an additional year to file a claim to recover compensation for the destruction of property.

Any person who fails to file a claim within the required statute of limitations deadlines will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.

Delayed Discovery of an Injury

The statute of limitations can be paused for an Orange County personal injury case if an injured person does not discover, or was not aware of the facts that would have caused them to suspect, that they had sustained an injury caused by another person’s wrongful conduct.

Commonly known as the “delayed discovery” rule, the statute of limitations “clock” will not begin until the person discovers the injury. However, this delayed discovery rule does not allow for an indefinite period of time to file a lawsuit, so you need to consult a lawyer in these situations.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

There are other reasons that the statute of limitations may be paused or “tolled” in California. These include:

  • If the injury victim is under the age of 18 or lacks the mental/legal capacity to make decisions. The statute of limitations will be tolled until a person reaches the age of 18 or regains the legal capacity to make their own decisions.
  • If the person who allegedly caused the injury leaves the state of California after the incident occurs, but before a lawsuit can be filed, the statute of limitations will be tolled until such a time that the individual is apprehended or returns to the state of California.

Work with an Attorney on Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have any questions related to how long you have to file a personal injury claim in the state of California, contact an attorney as soon as possible. You need to be sure that you get your claim filed on time so that you can receive any compensation you are rightfully entitled to.