How Long Do You Have To File A Personal Injury Claim

If you've been involved in a car or bike accident, you may not decide to file a claim in court immediately. Perhaps your injuries seemed minor at the time, or you felt sympathetic to the other party in the accident. It is important, however, that you understand your rights to compensation under the law and how the California statute of limitations applies to your case.

The first important factor in determining how long you have to file is related to the other party in the accident. If you were in an accident with a city, state, or federal government employee or vehicle, you must first submit an administrative claim with the government entity involved. That claim then goes through their internal processes for judging responsibility. That process may take no longer than 45 days. If your claim is denied after those 45 days, you have 6 months from being notified of the denial to file a claim in court.

If the other party in the accident was a private citizen or company, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim in court. In most cases, your two-year time limit begins to run on the day of your car accident. However, if your injury doesn't manifest itself right away or isn't apparent at the time of the accident, the clock will not start to run until you are aware of the injury - which is a legal principle known as the discovery rule.

Also, if a family member passes away as a result of the accident, you have two years from the date of his or her death to bring a wrongful death claim, so long as the date of the death and the date of the accident are not the same.

Knowing the rules regarding statutes of limitations can sometimes be difference between you getting the justice you deserve or having your claim dismissed. This is why it is always best to speak with an experienced attorney should you have any questions about your personal injury claim. A skilled attorney can protect your rights and help you navigate these confusing laws.