What is a Statute of Limitations?

In California there is a statute of limitations for when an injured party can bring a lawsuit. It is a time limit placed on either settling a claim or filing a lawsuit regarding an injury from a car accident. If the statute of limitations runs out, the injured party’s claim for injuries becomes invalid in a California court.

California Statute of Limitations

The California statute of limitations for an injury from an accident is two years from the date of the incident – so long as the negligent driver is a private citizen.

If the other driver is a governmental agency like a police officer, a highway patrol officer, or a city bus driver, then the statute of limitations is shortened. In these cases, the statute of limitations is six months.

However, it’s not six months to file a lawsuit. Within six months of the accident, a governmental tort claim needs to be filed against the proper entities. Once the governmental agencies receive this claim, they have the right to accept it or reject it. If it is rejected, and many times the governmental court claim is, the injured party has six months from that rejection date to file a lawsuit.

If one was injured by a governmental agency in California, it’s a two-step process. First, governmental claim. Then if rejection of that governmental claim, then you have to file a lawsuit.

So remember:

Private citizen – the statute of limitations is two years.

Governmental agencies – the statute of limitations is six months.

Note: The statute of limitations for the property damage is longer than for personal injuries. You have three years from the date of the collision before the claim for property damage runs out.

This is why it is so important to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. Reach out to The Beliz Law Firm today.