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Is There a Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim?

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity in California, it may be necessary for you to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. Injury victims are often able to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and more, but it is important to keep in mind that victims must comply with the statute of limitations for these cases.

The Law Related to Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When we turn to California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, we can see that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date the injury occurs. This law covers just about any type of injury lawsuit that could arise.

If an injury victim fails to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party within this two-year window, they will likely lose any ability to recover compensation for their losses.

What About Medical Malpractice Cases?

When we look at California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5, we can see that injuries related to medical malpractice must be filed within one year from the date the victim discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, that they have been injured due to medical error. Additionally, California imposes a three-year statute of repose on medical malpractice cases. This means that victims must follow their case within three years after the injury occurs, regardless of when they discovered the injury.

Timelines for Reporting Injuries to Insurance Carriers

The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits has nothing to do with filing deadlines concerning insurance carriers. In most instances, an insurance carrier involved in a personal injury claim needs to be notified within a few days after the injury occurs. For example, most auto insurance carriers in California require that those involved in an accident report the incident “within a reasonable amount of time.” This typically means within a few days, and failing to report the incident could result in the insurance carrier denying the claim.

Similarly, workers’ compensation insurance claims must be filed within a certain amount of time, or the insurance carrier will deny the claim.

It is important to keep in mind that most personal injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, so waiting too long to begin the injury settlement process could be detrimental to a victim’s ability to recover compensation. The two-year statute of limitations mentioned above for personal injury lawsuits is the absolute last chance a person has to recover compensation, and that two-year limit should not be taken to mean that a person should wait that long to begin their claim.

Will You Need an Attorney for These Cases?

Personal injury claims in California can become complicated, and it is strongly recommended that any injury victim seek assistance from an attorney as soon as possible. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer can use their resources to determine liability for the incident and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. An attorney can work diligently to negotiate a fair settlement on behalf of their client.