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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

Personal Injury Claims & the Statute of Limitations


In the aftermath of an accident or injury, it's natural to have numerous questions about your rights and the legal process involved in filing a personal injury claim in California.

One crucial aspect that can significantly impact your case is the statute of limitations. Understanding the statute of limitations is vital to ensure you don't miss out on seeking the compensation you need.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations refers to the legal time frame within which a person must file a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury or accident. However, there are exceptions and variations depending on the type of injury and the parties involved.

Exceptions to the Two-Year Rule

Government Claims

If your personal injury claim involves a government entity, such as a city, county, or state agency, you must file a government claim within six months from the date of the injury. Failing to do so may result in the forfeiture of your right to pursue a lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice

In cases of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is generally three years from the date of the injury or one year from the date the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered), whichever comes first.

Minors & Incapacitated Individuals

Minors and individuals who are mentally or physically incapacitated at the time of the injury have extended time limits to file a personal injury claim. For minors, the statute of limitations begins when they turn 18, and for incapacitated individuals, it starts when they regain capacity.

Why is the Statute of Limitations Important?

Failing to file a personal injury claim within the specified time frame can have severe consequences.

Once the statute of limitations has expired, you lose your right to seek compensation through a lawsuit. Insurance companies and defendants will often use this defense to have your case dismissed, leaving you without recourse.

Protecting Your Rights

To ensure you don't miss out on the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries, it's crucial to take prompt action.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries and follow through with any recommended treatments.
  • Document Everything: Keep a record of all relevant documents, including medical records, accident reports, photographs, and any other evidence that supports your claim.
  • Consult with an Attorney: It's advisable to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can guide you through the legal process, ensure all necessary paperwork is filed correctly, and help build a strong case on your behalf.

At Smolich and Smolich, we understand the complexities of personal injury claims in California. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation.