How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in California?


If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in California, you only have a limited amount of time to file your injury car accident claim. If you fail to act expeditiously, you may miss that window of time and therefore, be unable to get the settlement you rightfully deserve.

Under California law, you must file a lawsuit within two years for injuries suffered in a car accident. However, this might not always be the case, which is why it is imperative that you contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.

What Issues Can Affect the Statute of Limitations?

Here are some of the factors that might be unique to your case that could potentially affect your deadline to file:

Property damage:

If you have not suffered injuries in the car accident and want to repair damage to your vehicle, the statute of limitations is three years.

Injuries involving minors:

If a child under 18 is injured in an accident, the two-year clock doesn't begin to tick until the person turns 18 years of age.

Governmental entities:

As mentioned earlier, if the defendant is a governmental entity, you only have 180 days or six months to file the notice of claim.

Unavailable defendants:

If a defendant is not available or not located, the statute of limitations may be extended.

Defendant's bankruptcy:

If the person who caused your accident is going through bankruptcy, the court will issue a stay on any civil lawsuit that is filed to claim monetary damages from that individual. In such cases, your claim will not be discharged until the bankruptcy proceedings are complete.

What If Your Claim is Filed After Deadline?

If the statute of limitations has passed, there is the possibility that the court will dismiss your case unless your case falls within certain exceptions. In such situations, you could sadly lose the opportunity to receive any type of compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident. This is why it is critical that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles car accident injury lawyer who can advice you regarding these deadlines and file your lawsuit in a timely manner so your right to receive compensation is not jeopardized.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File My Claim?

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If you suffered relatively minor injuries in the crash and didn't need to get medical attention or take time off work, you probably don't need a lawyer to assist you with your claim. However, if you are reeling from the physical, emotional and financial effects in the aftermath of your car accident injuries, it is crucial to contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer right away. By not doing so, you may run the risk of not getting the injury settlement you deserve.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Los Angeles Personal Injury Claims?

It is important to remember that plaintiffs do not have unlimited time to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations in California – or deadline to file your lawsuit – for most personal injury cases is two years. This means you must file your case within two years of the date of your accident and injury.

If the plaintiff is under 18 or a child, his or her family will have two years from the date of the child's 18th birthday to file a lawsuit, even if this is more than two years from the date of injury. If you are in doubt about how long you have to file, please contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to make sure you don't miss the deadline to file your case and seek the compensation you rightfully deserve.

What if I Don't Have Insurance?

If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault but don't have auto insurance, you can still file a claim with the other party's insurer. However, the other party's insurance company is not likely to represent you or act on your claim. This is one of the main reasons you should contact an experienced California car accident lawyer before you file a claim or take any such step.

At the Vaziri Law Group, our knowledgeable injury lawyers will help you receive treatment for your injuries and take care of all the procedural work and paperwork necessary to file your claim so you can focus on healing. Unlike insurance companies that focus on their profits, we will make your well being our focus and fight hard for your rights every step of the way.

When is the Right Time to File Your Claim?

When it comes to filing the lawsuit it is often a good idea to start by presenting a claim to the insurance carrier of the responsible driver. This will give you the time you need to get all the medical treatment you need as well as any rehabilitative therapies that are necessary to aid a full recovery. Once we know and understand the full scope of your injuries, it may become possible to settle the claim with the insurance company for a reasonable amount of compensation. This helps avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.

A majority of car accident claims do get settled out of court. Our car accident attorneys are prepared to take your case before a jury if the insurance company or the defendant in your case refuses to arrive at a fair settlement. Regardless of which direction you take with your case, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who understands the statute of limitations and can help you make the best possible decisions.

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If you were injured as the result of someone else's negligence, our legal team is standing by to help. We've helped victims recover over $1 Billion with a 98% success rate. We can help guide you through the entire claim process. Call us at 310-777-7540 for a free, confidential consultation.