The Facts About How Much Time You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in California
There can be some confusion surrounding how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit after an accident in California. This is understandable because there are different rules for different types of cases. Get the facts below and then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 if you have suffered an injury in an accident and require a free legal consultation.
You Have Two Years in Most Cases Involving a Private Party as Defendant
The clock will generally start on the date of the accident. If the defendant is a private party, you will generally have two years to file the lawsuit. There are exceptions. For example, if the party was a private party but there were no injuries and you are only suing for property damage, then you will have three years from the date of the accident. If you were not aware of the injuries for weeks or months – or even years – after the accident, then your clock might start at the time you became aware of the injuries.
Personal Injury Cases in Which the Government is a Plaintiff
If a government agency is a plaintiff in the case, then the clock is significantly reduced – you generally only have six months to file and the process is entirely different. This is definitely a case in which you would want to contact a personal injury attorney to handle for you.
Wrongful Death Claims Can Have their Own Timelines
One of the leading causes of death in California is unintentional injuries. This includes car accidents, bus accidents, and others. In this case, you have two years not from the date of the accident or injury, but from the date of their death. It may be that if your loved one did not die for some time after the accident, the other party may argue that the claim timeframe should start at the date of their injury. This is false.
That said, it is important that you can establish a link between the accident and injuries and the death of your loved one. If they were involved in a car accident, went into a coma immediately after the accident, and never woke up, then this link is easy to establish. On the other hand, if the accident caused a brain injury that did not actually kill your loved one for three years, the sooner you hire a personal injury attorney to establish that link, the better off you will be.
There is no reason to wait to talk to an attorney. No matter how simple or complex your case is, the sooner we can begin working on it, the better our options will be. Call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 now for a free legal consultation.