5 Important Facts About California’s Statute of Limitations Law
The state of California’s Statute of Limitations laws are important to understand so you do not wind up on the outside looking in for compensation.
California’s Statute of Limitations Laws Pertaining to Personal Injury and Property Damage Claims Very.
When someone has a personal injury case, whether caused by a car accident or a dog bite, it is crucial to know the time limitations set on bringing claims in the state of California.
A lawsuit can be filed at any time after the date of injury and before the statute of limitations has expired. It is important to note that every state has its own standards, and the ones discussed and elaborated in further detail below apply to California.
1) What is A Statute of Limitations?
The time in which the injured party must file a lawsuit varies on the type of legal claim and who he or she is trying to sue. Generally, once the statute of limitations “runs out,” the injured party can no longer file a lawsuit.
The injured party will then be left with no compensation whatsoever.
While California’s statute of limitations vary between the types of claims being brought about, courts generally interpret a “one-year” statute of limitations to mean that the victim has one year from the date of the event’s occurrence to file a lawsuit.
For example, if the California statute of limitations period is one-year, and the injury occurred on August 1, 2023, the victim will have until August 1, 2024 to file a lawsuit.
If the victim files after August 1, 2024, the court will reject the lawsuit because it was untimely.
If the last day to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs falls on a Saturday, Sunday, a holiday, or on any other day in which the courthouse is otherwise closed for business for the entire day, then the last day to file is extended to the immediate next day that the court is open for business.
2) What is the point of California’s statute of limitations?
Although it is fair to want to hold negligent defendants liable for the injuries they caused, there are various reasons as to why this law exists.
First, the California personal injury statute of limitations encourages everyone to bring their claims to court as quickly as possible. Avoidable delays are discouraged, which allows the courts to run more efficiently.
Second, the law helps keep the insured’s case as strong as possible. Over time evidence tends to become weaker since it can be easily destroyed or lost, and witnesses can forget important facts.
Lastly, California’s statute of limitations are enforced to help with a pursuit of fairness. The defendant would not be unfairly prejudiced in that the defendant would have ample time to defend its case.
3) What are the Different Types of Legal Claims?
There are generally three types of legal claims regarding California’s statute of limitations:
- Personal injury against a person or business
- Property damage against a person or business
- Claims against a government agency, city, county, or state
4) What are California’s Statute of Limitations and Requirements for Each Legal Claim?
A personal injury refers to any injuries to a person’s body, mind, or emotions. This can also include the wrongful death of a close family member.
The most common types of personal injury cases are car accidents. Other lawsuits also include slip and falls, dog bites, or In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the injury occurred.
If a victim fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year period, they will lose the opportunity to seek compensation for any injuries as a result of the accident.
Property damage occurs to any destruction to one’s car, personal property, or home.
California’s statute of limitations for a property damage claim is three years. Failure to bring a claim to court within that time period forces the victim to forfeit the right to any compensation.
Additionally, California allows private citizens to bring a lawsuit where a government or its employees acted negligently and caused an injury.
For claims against a government agency, one must first file a special claim (an “administrative claim”) with the government office before the claim is filed in court. For a personal injury or property damage claim, the administrative claim must be filed within six (6) months of the date of injury.
After the claim is filed, the government has forty-five (45) days to respond.
If the government agency denies the claim during that period, the lawsuit must be filed in court within six (6) months from the date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to the injured person.
If the injured person does not receive a rejection letter, the lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years from the day the incident occurred.
5) Are there Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Deadline?
In some situations, the statute of limitations is “tolled.”
Tolling is a time period in which the statute of limitations time period is paused. The statute of limitations period stops running, and only begins to run again when the tolling event has concluded.
The tolled interval is then tacked onto the end of the limitations period, and the deadline to file the lawsuit is extended.
California’s statute of limitations may be tolled when the victim is:
- A minor under 18 years old.
- Suing an out-of-state defendant.
- Legally insane.
- In prison.
Once the condition that created the tolling period has ended, the tolling period ends and California’s statute of limitations resumes.
Consult with an experienced attorney for more information
If you have further questions about California’s statute of limitations for personal injury and how it might affect your claim, consider calling an experienced attorney, such as the LA personal injury attorneys at C&B Law Group.
The attorney will analyze your case thoroughly, and advise you on what you should do to get the best results.
C&B Law Group offers consultations free of attorney fees, allowing you to get the information you need without having to pay out of pocket.