People who have been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or any other type of accident caused by another person's negligence have the right to file a personal injury claim. But, there is a limit on the amount of time that victims have to take legal action. These time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, vary by state. Here's what victims should know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California:
Most Cases Have A Two-Year Statute of Limitations
There is a two-year statute of limitations for the vast majority of personal injury cases in the state of California. This means that victims have two years from the date they were injured to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. For example, a victim who is injured in a car accident typically has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
But, what if you don't realize that you are injured immediately after the accident? In this case, the two-year time limit would begin on the date that you discovered your injuries, not on the date of the accident.
Medical Malpractice Cases
The two-year statute of limitations does not apply to medical malpractice cases. Anyone who has been injured by a negligent healthcare provider has three years from the date the injury was sustained or one year from the date the injury was first discovered, whichever occurs first.
Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors
The standard two-year statute of limitations is not applicable to personal injury cases involving minor victims. Minors have two years from the date they turn 18 years old to file a personal injury claim. For instance, let's say a minor is injured in a car accident when she is 16 years old. Her parents can either file a lawsuit on her behalf or the minor can file a lawsuit on her own beginning when she is 18 years old. If she chooses to file the lawsuit on her own, she has until her 20th birthday to do so.
The rules are different for medical malpractice cases involving minors. The statute of limitations is three years for medical malpractice cases involving minors between the ages of six and 18. If a minor is under the age of six, the statute of limitations is either three years from the date the injuries were sustained or the date of the minor's 8th birthday, whichever occurs later.
It may seem as if you have plenty of time to take legal action, but the years will go by faster than you can imagine. If you have been injured, it's recommended that you contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law right away. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.