How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in California?

The moments following an accident can understandably leave you shocked, confused and anxious. The immediate steps you should take after an accident include seeking medical attention and getting in touch with law enforcement. If another person’s negligence is to blame for your injuries, you might consider filing a personal injury claim.

However, you must keep in mind that there is a timeline for filing a claim in California. This is referred to as the statute of limitations and it sets the maximum time that an injury victim has to begin legal proceedings. To keep the process fair for both parties, California has set a strict deadline within which you must file your claim.

So how much time do I have to file a personal injury claim in California?

As already indicated, California has very strict deadlines for filing different types of claims. For personal injuries, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault party. Examples of accidents that can result in personal injuries include:

  • Car accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Pedestrian collisions
  • Trucking accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents

What if the at-fault party is a government agency?

Personal injury claims against government agencies in California are exempt from the two-year time limit. If you are filing a claim against the local, city or state government, you have only six months from the date of the injury to file your claim. If the claim is denied, then you have another six months to file a lawsuit against the at-fault agency in court. And if the agency fails to respond, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim.

Depending on the severity, an accident can result in serious life-altering injuries. Along with the injuries always come the pain and suffering, lost income or income potential, anxiety and trauma. While it may not occur to you right away, it is important that you are aware of the time frame within which you have to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party.