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Understanding California's Personal Injury Statute of Limitation


If you are injured in California and wish to file a personal injury lawsuit, you are subject to the state’s statutes of limitations. Figuring out when the statute of limitations runs out on a claim is not easy. If you have any doubts about how to calculate the time you have, contact Fair Cases Law Group for a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation. Call 1-833-324-7111. 

What is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a law that sets the deadline to file a lawsuit. Put simply, you have a certain amount of time to file an official lawsuit in court. If you do not file an official lawsuit in court within that time, your claim is forever barred and you lose your opportunity to seek compensation.

California's Statute of Limitation

The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit varies depending on the type of legal claim and the jurisdiction in which the offense took place. Here are the statutes of limitations for some common types of legal disputes:

  • Murder: No statute of limitations period. 
  • Breach of a written contract:  Four years from the date the contract was broken.
  • Property damage: Three years from the date the damage occurred.
  • Claims against government agencies: You must file a claim with the agency within 6 months (for some cases, 1 year) of the incident. If the claim is denied, you can then file your lawsuit in court but there are strict limits to how and when you can file. 

California's Statute of Limitation for Personal Injury

Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure sets the statute of limitations for California personal injury claims. This definition covers most personal injury cases, including any action for “assault, battery, injury to, or death of an individual” caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. 

Under this California personal injury law, you have two years from the time of the accident to bring a lawsuit. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is 1 year from the date the injury was discovered. If you do not bring a lawsuit during this time, you will not be able to recover any compensation.

If you have been in an accident contact Fair Cases Law Group for a free consultation. A free consultation means you can get a better idea of what your claim might be worth without any cost to you.

To learn more about how we can help as your attorney, please call us at (833) 324-7111 and request a free consultation.

Government Claims

When you sue a government agency, you first have to file a special claim (called an “administrative claim”) with the government office or agency before you file in court.

For personal injury or personal property damage, you must file your administrative claim within 6 months of the date of the injury. (There are a few exceptions California Government Code section 905 and section 911.2.)

After you file your claim, the government has 45 days to respond.  If the government agency denies your claim during the 45 days, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit in court from date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to you.  If you do not get a rejection letter, you have 2 years to file from the day the incident occurred.  

The statute of limitations for government claims can be complicated to navigate. Make sure you contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer for questions about the statute of limitations law in California. 

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some circumstances where the personal injury statute of limitations in California is “tolled.” This means the clock stops running and the time period extends.

  • In a medical malpractice case, you may not discover that you were affected by a medical error until later. The statute of limitations does not start until you realize that you suffered injuries.
  • In the case of a minor, the victim does not have the legal capacity to sue for his or her injuries. The statute of limitations extends until that person has reached adulthood.
  • If the responsible party left the state of California after causing the accident but before you filed a lawsuit, there is an exception to the two-year rule.

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If you have been injured, it is in your best interest to work with a skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorney to help recover the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys of Fair Cases Law Group will pursue your case, make sure you comply with the California statute of limitations laws, work hard to hold negligent parties responsible for the damages they have caused you, and to maximize your compensation. Call 1-833-324-7111 for more information. 

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