How Long After A Car Accident Can You Sue In California?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that the total cost of car accidents in the U.S. per year to be $40.4 billion. With a “b.”
Not only will a car accident potentially endanger your life, but it can do some serious damage to your bank account.
Ideally, this is where insurance money comes in handy.
Accidents happen. A majority of the time, they are out of your control. If you are injured, due to no fault of your own, it only makes logical sense that you should receive some sort of compensation, as medical bills can add up fast.
However, what often happens instead is you are offered compensation far lower than the amount you were looking for. Insurance companies have a bottom line to meet and will look for ways to short change you.
From here, you will need to consider a lawsuit to receive the full compensation you seek. The only problem is that this decision to sue might come long after your accident.
Which begs the question this article seeks to answer: how long after a car accident can you sue in California?
Either way, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced group of Los Angeles lawyers after a car accident in California.
Our California car accident lawyers will help you receive the compensation you are owed.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time limit in which a person can sue after an accident. It makes sense a law such as this exists. After all, a person shouldn’t be able to decide that they want to file a lawsuit five years after their accident.
The statute of limitations gives you some time to suss out your legal plan. However, it comes as a double-edged sword. After an accident, you essentially have a time limit as for when you can file a lawsuit.
Basically, if you don’t file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you are out of luck.
Even if a clear line can be drawn between your accident and your injuries, it won’t matter if your lawsuit falls outside of the statute.
The Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California
You have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of California. Any attempts of legal action after that will fail.
This is a rule that applies to most personal injuries in California. However, if you wish to recover damages to a vehicle or your property, the statute of limitations is different. You will instead have three years from the date that the damage occurred to file a lawsuit.
If your accident involves a government employee or entity of some kind, however, the statute will again be different. Your time to file a lawsuit will be much shorter; six months, in this case. This applies to local, state, and federal governments.
If your claim is denied, you will have an additional six months from the date of your denial to file a new lawsuit against the responsible party.
When Should You File a Lawsuit
As stated above, the statute of limitations works as a time limit for when you can file a personal injury lawsuit. However, it also works in giving you some time before you need to file a suit.
You won’t want to immediately file a lawsuit after an injury occurs.
For one, any injuries you’ve sustained after an accident might not be apparent at first. A lot of automobile accident injuries take some time to make themselves known. The full extent of an injury might not be apparent to you until months after your injury.
In waiting to receive the full medical attention necessary, you will also get a clear picture of the full amount of compensation you’re seeking. You’ll want any additional treatment you need to be on the record.
As well, you owe it to yourself to give yourself some time to recover from your injury before you put yourself through the trials and tribulations of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Dealing with the financial and legal knots that occur after an accident will be mentally taxing enough.
You might as well give yourself the time to let your body recover from any injuries you sustained. You have a whole two years before the statute of limitations is up. Give yourself any time that you need.
However, waiting until the last possible minute to file your personal injury lawsuit isn’t good for your case either. Since legal proceedings can move at a glacial pace, if you wait until the statute is just about up, your case might end up going nowhere.
You could even end up going past the statute of limitations. In this case, you will receive none of the compensation you’re seeking. You will have to foot all of your bills on your own.
Paying for all of the bills yourself, especially in an accident that wasn’t your fault, is the last thing you need.
The Bottom Line
You can follow the rules of the road to a T. You can drive with the safety and precision of a surgeon.
Unfortunately, that won’t guarantee your safety when you’re involved in a car accident, especially when the accident is due to the negligence of another driver.
Knowing the statute of limitations in California is imperative after being involved in an automobile accident.
The difference between being smothered in medical bills and getting the fair compensation you need can come down to knowing the statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one are involved in an automobile accident in California, contact the law offices of Tawni Takagi today.
We have years of experience handling cases like yours, so you can rest easy knowing you will be given the legal support and guidance you need.
Our California Personal Injury attorneys will help get you the compensation you are owed.
Call (310) 954-7248 today to start the process of getting your life back on track.
Give yourself the legal aid you deserve.
find out if you have a case!
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