Jul 10, 2019
When you’ve been injured in California, you only have a short time to act if you want to seek compensation. This state has strict statute of limitations laws in place for personal injuries, and learning about California personal injury laws is essential if you want to make sure that your case will appear before a judge. Find out the details surrounding personal injury laws in California and why you’ll need a skilled lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.
In general, the state of California makes it relatively easy to seek compensation for personal injuries. Whenever you’ve been hurt and you’re convinced that another party is at fault, you’re eligible to file a lawsuit. Winning your lawsuit, however, is another matter; to get compensation for your injury, you’ll need to convince a California court that the nature and scope of your stated injuries is accurate, and you’ll need to present a clear theory of the case that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that someone else is responsible for your injuries.
No matter how ironclad your case may be, keep in mind that you’ll need to pursue legal action within a limited time window if you want your personal injury case to be heard in court. California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 335.1 states that any legal “action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another” must be filed within two years of the date of the incident. Any actions filed beyond this “due date” exceed the California statute of limitations of personal injury cases, and they will be ineligible for arbitration by a California court.
So, how long do you have to file a personal injury claim in California? Essentially, the state of California has set a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. When you’ve been injured, it’s natural for practically every aspect of your daily life to grind to a screeching halt, but unless you want to be saddled with medical bills and lost wages, getting started with legal action against the party responsible for your injury is something that can’t wait. The right lawyer will understand the unique concerns that arise after you’ve been injured, and he or she will be able to take the lead in taking legal action while you recover.
In most cases, the answer is “no.” However, keep in mind that the state of California has set up certain exceptions to its strict two-year personal injury statute of limitations that may apply in your case. If you’ve sustained an injury as a result of domestic violence, for instance, California provides you with three years to file a personal injury case. In addition, this state extends the statute of limitations in cases of medical malpractice or childhood sexual abuse, but these types of cases aren’t directly related to personal injury law in this state.
To be safe, it’s best to file your personal injury claim within two years to make sure you’ll be eligible. If you wait too long, unfortunately, it’s most likely that there will be no legal recourse you can take to receive compensation for your injuries.
It’s certainly possible to go it alone when you’ve been injured in California; it isn’t strictly necessary to be represented by a lawyer when you take legal action to receive damages for your injury. However, entering the fray without a qualified lawyer could add serious insult to your injury. The state of California has complex shared fault laws that could either reduce the amount of damages you receive or turn the tables on you entirely if you aren’t careful.
In a nutshell, California shared fault laws reduce the amount you can receive in damages if it can be determined that you were at least partially responsible for your accident. It isn’t necessary to prove that you were entirely responsible for your injuries for California shared fault laws to come into effect. The only requirement is that the court must find that the party you named as responsible for your injuries isn’t 100% to blame.
Different states have varying laws related to liability in dog bite cases. California law has taken a “strict liability” stance, which means that the owner of a dog that causes an injury is strictly liable for the injury. This one-party liability even applies if the dog has never hurt anyone before and the owner had no idea that their dog was dangerous.
The “one bite” rule in California is an important aspect of this state’s strict liability stance on dog bite cases. All it takes is one bite for you to be held liable for your dog’s behavior in California; your dog doesn’t need to have a history of attacks for strict liability to be enforced.
How long do you have to file a claim for a car accident in California? Well, car accident law in California is slightly different from general personal injury law. While you still only have two years to take legal action in relation to injuries you’ve sustained as a result of a car accident, the state of California provides you with three years to file lawsuits for property damage related to vehicular accidents.
Even if the personal injury statute of limitations has expired for your car accident, therefore, you’ll still be eligible to receive compensation for property damage for another full calendar year. In most cases, property damage claims related to car accidents are handled by the responsible party’s insurance company, but getting compensated for car accident property damage can get complicated quickly.
Most car accidents, whether minor or severe, result in injuries, so it’s rare to file for property damage without filing for personal injury compensation when you’ve been involved in an automotive accident in California. It’s usually best practice to take action within two years of your car accident whether you’ve suffered personal injuries or property damage, but it’s technically possible to file for car-accident-related property damage after the statute of limitations for personal injury has expired.
Filing a personal injury case in California can be tricky when you don’t have the right lawyer by your side. Even if you file your case within the required two-year window, you’ll still need to avoid a ruling of shared fault by proving that another party is responsible for your injury. At Dordulian Law Group, we’re fully familiar with all the types of personal injury cases in California, and we’re standing by to help you with your case. Call (800) 880-7777 today for a free consultation!
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and workers compensation concerns.