If you have been injured in an accident in California, be it in a car accident, in a slip and fall, or in any other type of hazard, you may have been focusing on your health. However, your Oxnard personal injury lawyer has probably pointed out to you that the clock is ticking and that you have a specified time in which to file your claim. If you let this time go by, you will lose your opportunity to file a claim and fight to get the compensation to which you might be entitled. Although your health should certainly be your priority, by allowing a legal professional to focus on the legal aspects of your case, there is no reason to miss any important deadline such as the one marked by the state’s statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
In California, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is 2 years from the day of your accident. After that, you surrender your right to sue the party responsible for your injuries and other losses.
Are There Any Exceptions?
There are certain circumstances that may prevent you from filing a legal claim during the 2 years that the law establishes. One of the main exceptions applies to people who discover late that they have been injured in the accident. If this happens to you, the statute of limitations would grant you 2 years from the moment the injury is discovered. You may discover it late if, for example, you were exposed to asbestos but the harm caused by this exposure did not appear until years later.
Other exceptions apply to minors who can file when they legally become adults even if they were hurt when they were children, or to those who want to file on time but the would-be defendant leaves the state before the claim has been filed. The statute of limitations allows your case to wait until the defendant returns to the state.
Why Do You Need 2 Years to File?
Many people act under the mistaken impression that having 2 years to file is plenty of time. However, they fail to understand that filing a personal injury claim is not something that can be done overnight. You need to hire legal representation and have a consultation with your lawyer to explain your side of the story.
Once the lawyer accepts your case, they will start by conducting a full investigation into your accident. This may include going back to the scene to gather evidence, interviewing witnesses which may take time to locate, hiring accident reconstruction experts to help shed light on how your accident occurred, analyzing the police report and your medical records, calling upon medical experts to determine whether your injuries have reached the point of maximum improvement, and many other actions.
Keep this in mind when you are injured in an accident in California and get legal representation as soon as possible.