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How long do I have after a car accident to file my personal injury suit?

Even if you think you may be entitled to damages following a motor vehicle accident, you may still have to file a lawsuit in order to obtain these damages - and this lawsuit must be filed within a specific amount of time, otherwise referred to as the statute of limitations.

If you don't bring your legal claim before the statute of limitations expires, your case will likely be thrown out - meaning you won't be able to collect the damages you deserve for your injuries.

So, what is the statute of limitations for car accident injuries in California? It is two years. In fact, all personal injury lawsuits based on negligence - including car accidents - are governed by California's two-year statute of limitations.

So when does the clock start ticking?

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 of 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.

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