if you were injured in an accident caused by another person or business’s negligence, one of the most important reasons to consult an attorney is to avoid problems missing the statute of limitations — a legal “time limit” that can prohibit you from bringing your lawsuit if you wait too long.
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. In many accident cases, the clock begins to run from the time the injury occurs. Each state sets its own statue of limitations for different sets of claims, with the federal government having a separate statute of limitations for federal claims as well. In California, there are general statutes of limitations for a broad range of claims.
How long do I have to bring a personal injury claim?
A person injured in an accident that was not their fault has two years to bring a personal injury claim. This also covers any action for assault, battery, or death of an individual caused by another’s wrongful negligence. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is 1 year from the date the injury was discovered if they delay in the discovery was reasonable.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations
Keep in mind that that these are broad, general guidelines. There are a number of scenarios that bring their own set of statutes of limitations or exceptions into play. For instance:
• Claims against certain government agencies require that you file an administrative claim against them within 6 months of a wrongful incident in order to preserve your right to file suit.
• Civil claims stemming from childhood sexual abuse can be filed up to 8 years after the victim’s 18th birthday, or 3 years after the victim realizes that he or she suffers from physical or psychological injury which stems from childhood sexual abuse.
• Professional malpractice against a doctor or health care provider – Three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.
Other factors can delay or “toll” a statue of limitations under certain circumstances such as when the victim is a minor or mentally incompetent during the time of the initial injury. Bankruptcy can also toll certain claims while its protections remain in effect.
For more information about the deadline you have to file your potential case, contact the experienced accident attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm today.