How Long Do You Have to Sue for Personal Injury?

Every state has a set limit on the amount of time you are legally permitted to file a lawsuit in court after you have sustained an injury. The statute of limitations, as it’s called, has deadlines that vary depending on the type of case you are filing.

In the state of California, personal injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years from the date the injury occurred. This means, from the date of the injury, a person has 24 months to go to court and file a lawsuit if they hope to collect any damages from the party responsible. An experienced attorney at Bauman Law APLC would tell you there is a high probability the court won’t hear your case if you fail to file within that window. Any likelihood of compensation would be lost.

Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure states a person must commence their action within two years of an assault, battery, injury or death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another.

However, a personal injury claim against a city, county or state agency has a limit of only six months. There are also very strict rules of procedure when filing as detailed in Section 911.2 of the California Code.

Shared Fault Law in California

In certain cases of personal injury, the person being sued may argue that you are to blame for causing the incident that result in an injury. If that is the case, it will affect the total sum of the monetary award you will receive.

California has what’s called a “pure comparative negligence rule” in case of shared fault injury. The rule states the amount of damages to which you are entitled will be lessened by an amount that matches your percentage of fault in the accident.

For example, if you are involved in a traffic accident in which another driver clearly ignored a red light, but you were speeding at the time, you might share 20% of the blame for the accident. The other driver is 80% at fault. Under the pure comparative negligence rule, if the damages total $12,000, your monetary award would be reduced by $2,400 (20%).

In California, this rule is followed by the courts if the case makes it to trial. But if you are trying to settle the matter outside of court, interacting with an insurance claim adjuster can be a nightmare. It’s no surprise that they would mention the rule during the settlement procedure and know you have the option to negotiate what the affect of that rule should have on your claim.

California Injury Award Limits

Personal injury law in California sets limits on the amount of monetary awards you recover in a personal injury case.

Uninsured drivers are not eligible to damages for non-economic pain and suffering, even if the driver of the other vehicle is entirely at fault. Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Inconvenience or
  • Impairment

There is an exception to the rule. If the uninsured driver gets into an accident with someone who is operating their vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and if that driver is convicted of driving under the influence in connection with the case, the uninsured driver can collect non-economic damages.

The practiced attorneys at Bauman Law APLC can answer your questions and provide counsel for your personal injury case.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.