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Things to Know About the Statute of Limitations in California

What Does it Mean?

The statute of limitations in California is the deadline provided by the law for the plaintiff to file a lawsuit. The plaintiff will lose the leverage to recover claims when the deadline expires. And the court could dismiss the case. The limit is only up to 2 years to file for personal injury claims in California. Here are the types of cases where this is applied to.

  • Dog attacks
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Product liability claims
  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents

Medical malpractice cases are included in the 2-year limitation. 3 years were given upon the date of the injury. When the case involves contracts, it has different time limitations as well. The plaintiff could file up to 4 years for this kind of case.

The Purpose

The statute of limitations was implemented to make it fair for all parties. It is to ensure that all elements like evidence and witnesses still exist within a reasonable period to provide justice for the case. The time limit encourages the plaintiff to file a legal action while the elements of the case are still available. These will make the case stronger.  It gives protection to avoid defending stale claims.

Application by California Courts

California courts apply this limitation in personal injury lawsuit and claims commonly on personal injury and property damages.

For Personal Injury Cases

2 years starting from the date of the accident is the allowable time frame to file a personal injury case in California. If the victim discovered the effects of the injury at a later time, it could also be extended. A personal injury case covers auto accidents, sexual assault, dog bite attacks, wrongful death, assault, slip and fall, and other accidents due to the negligence of other people. Claims could be filed for physical, emotional, psychological, and financial damages.

For Property Damages

The victim must file a lawsuit within 3 years as a general rule starting from the date of the accident. Regardless of whether the accident is intentional or not, the plaintiff could file a lawsuit for the damages and recover claims. For these property damage cases, the limitations must be followed.

  • Car accident
  • Trespassing
  • Nuisance
  • Fraud
following thestatute of limitations in California

Discovery Rule

Through the application of the discovery rule, the statute of limitations could be delayed. A year extension will be given upon the discovery of the injury. This could be applicable when:

  1. The plaintiff is not fully aware of the damages that could have been of the negligence.
  2. An investigation must prove that a product or a situation was not the cause or contributed to the injury and damages.

Statute of Limitations in California for a Personal Injury Case With Involvement of a Minor

If the accident involves a minor, the limitation will only start when the victim reaches the age of 18. The plaintiff should be up to the age of 20 to file for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations in California is suspended in this situation.

IF The Guilty Party Left California

The statute is flexible in this scenario. When the defendant left the state, the time limit extends until he or she is in California again. The time of the defendant’s absence will not be included in the statute which allows the victim to extend the filing of a lawsuit.

What Happens If the Statute of Limitations in California Expired?

The personal injury case could be dismissed. California courts have created and implemented this for a reason. Filing personal injury claims or lawsuits in California is limited to 2 years only when there are no other acceptable reasons. Filing a lawsuit after this period could be used by the guilty party to the court and could be a factor in the dismissal of the case. Claims for all the damages might not be recovered.

Statute of limitations in California is not a factor in filing a personal injury claim. As part of negotiating for claims and the defendant’s insurance company, the plaintiff’s compliance is important. The victim lost his or her advantage when the time limit has already expired.

filing personal injury claims

What Does the Emergency Rule 9 Means?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, there is a collection of California court rules which toll cases. This is the Emergency Rule 9.

The California State Judicial Council suspends the civil cases’ statutes of limitation for 90 days. It was implemented on April 6, 2020. Rule 9 was amended in May of 2020 which makes it untied to the declaration of the state of emergency.

Here are the dates when the California statute of limitations will be restarted.

  1. From April 6 to October 1, 2002, the statute of limitations is suspended for all civil cases given that it goes beyond 180 days
  2. From April 5 to August 3, 2020, the statute of limitations is suspended for all civil cases given that it involves a time limit of 180 days or less.

You are entitled to claims if you have experienced injuries because of negligence that resulted in damages. Freeway Law Personal injury attorneys in Orange County could help you throughout the complex process of claiming. Have a free consultation by calling us at (844) 443-7339.

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