How Long Do You Really Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident? Get the Facts
There is some misconception about how long you have after an accident in California to initiate a personal injury claim. This is understandable because different types of instances have different rules. Get the facts below, then call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation if you have been injured in an accident.
In most cases involving a private party as a defendant, you have two years
The clock usually starts ticking on the date of the accident. If the defendant is a private individual, you usually have two years to launch a lawsuit. There are some exclusions. If the party was a private party with no injuries and you are simply claiming for property damage, you will have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you did not realize you were hurt until weeks, months, or even years after the event, your clock may start ticking from the moment you realized you were hurt.
The government as a plaintiff in personal injury cases
If a government agency is a plaintiff, the time limit is drastically shortened – you usually only have six months to file, and the process is completely different. This is absolutely a matter in which you need hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
Wrongful death lawsuits have their own timelines
Unintentional injuries are one of the top causes of death in California. This includes vehicle, bus, and other types of accidents. In this situation, you have two years from the date of their death, not the date of the accident or injury. The other party may argue that the claim timeline should begin at the date of your loved one’s injuries if your loved one did not die for some time after the accident. This is incorrect.
That said, it is critical that you can prove a link between the accident and injuries and your loved one’s death. This relationship is simple to establish if they were in a car accident, went into a coma right after the accident, and never awoke. If, on the other hand, the accident resulted in a brain injury that did not kill your loved one for three years, the sooner you engage a personal injury attorney to demonstrate that relationship, the better.
There is no need to put off speaking with an attorney. The sooner we can start working on your case, no matter how simple or complex it is, the better our alternatives will be. For a free legal consultation, call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 right now.