If you have been involved in a Woodland Hills car accident, you may wonder what happens next, legally speaking. Perhaps you are unsure how long you have to bring claims against the person who hit you. Or whether you will be found partially at fault for causing the accident. In general, the statute of limitations in California is two years for a personal injury claim, although there are exceptions that an experienced personal injury attorney can discuss with you. This means that if you injured in a car accident on January 1, 2015, you must file your civil lawsuit for damages on or before December 31, 2017.
Filing an Accident Claim Sooner than Later
Of course, you probably do not want to wait that long if you don’t have to. Memories fade, witnesses move away, and physical evidence can deteriorate even in two short years. Having access to witnesses with compelling testimony and helpful physical evidence may be vital to proving your case. Thus, to have the best chance of succeeding with your claims, you’ll want to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
In some cases, accident victims may not know right away that they have been injured. For example, you may be involved in an accident, and then discover two months later that you have severe back pain. If you visit a doctor and he or she believes the car accident caused the back pain, you may be able to bring a claim for damages for the back pain injury. Be aware that your time to do so starts at the point you discover the injury, and then you have one year to bring a claim.
Exceptions to 2 Year Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
As noted above, there are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations in California. For instance, if you were hit by a government vehicle and thus are suing the government or a government agency, you need to bring your claim within six months. If you are suing the government or a government agency, your first step is to bring an “administrative claim” with the government office or agency before filing in court. If the government denies your claim, you then have six months to file a lawsuit. Determining the statute of limitations in government claims can be complicated, so consult with an auto accident attorney for assistance.
Your attorney can also help you determine whether the statute of limitations has “tolled,” or stopped temporarily. For example, the statute is “tolled” by law if the defendant is out of state or is a minor or is in prison. The toll on the statute ends when the condition is lifted (such as when the minor turns 18). Sometimes the statute can be tolled based on an agreement between the parties, and your attorney will advise you on whether to enter into a tolling agreement or not.
For more information on how to file a personal injury claim after being injured in a Woodland Hills auto accident, contact attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.