What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations prevents the filing of a claim after a certain date. If you delay too long in pursuing a claim, the statute of limitations will bar you from recovery. In California, the statute governing when an action must be commenced for personal injury is Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1.
Running of the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury
Statutes of limitations are said to start “running” in a personal injury action when someone discovers they are harmed; when the injured person knows or reasonably should know that they have been injured and the nature of the injury.
Delaying the Running of the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Claims
If you don’t initially realize that you have an injury it can delay the clock on the statute of limitations from starting. This can be day or more after a car accident when the pain sets in, or years later. With auto accidents and other similar injuries, it is quite common for people to feel fine immediately after an accident, then suffer great pain later. This is particularly true with soft-tissue injuries, as in nerves and connective tissues.
Medical Treatment for a Personal Injury Claim
The first thing you should do when you suspect an injury is get to a doctor. Worry about the claim after you get medical help. Once you have seen a doctor, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney to help you pursue your claim.
Statutes of Limitations Vary Based on the Claim
If don’t file your lawsuit within a certain amount of time—within the statute of limitations—you will lose your right to sue forever. The exact time limit depends on the type of claim involved. For example, a straight injury claim in California might fall into the two-year range, while the statue of limitations for a medical malpractice based on improper medical treatment of accident injuries may be shorter.
State laws, including statutes of limitations, are frequently revised from year to year, so it’s important to speak with an attorney to understand how your state’s current laws will apply in your case.
Ask an Attorney to Evaluate Your Statute of Limitations
The best way to determine whether you can still file a claim for your injuries is to have you claim evaluated by an attorney specializing in personal injury claims, who will be able to evaluate your case and can help you recover damages for your injuries.
If you would like help with your personal injury claim, please contact me.