Knowledge is power if you were hurt in an auto collision caused by another motorist in San Diego or Southern California. One of the most important laws you need to understand is the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit against the driver at fault.
Suing for Personal Injuries and Property Damage After a Car Accident
The statute of limitations is the legal term for the time you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver or their insurance company. According to California law, when suing for injuries or death caused in an auto accident, here are the time frames:
- Personal injuries. You must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the collision for personal injuries suffered in the crash.
- Death. If a loved one died in a car wreck, you'll need to file a wrongful death action. Once again, you need to do this within two years from the date of your family member’s death.
You're also entitled to be compensated for damage to your vehicle and any other property caused by the crash. The statute of limitations to file your lawsuit is different than for claims for personal injuries or death. You have a timeline of three years from the date of the collision.
What Happens If You Wait Too Long to File a Lawsuit?
If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expired, the judge would most likely dismiss your case. In addition, the insurance company for the negligent motorist would have little incentive to offer any settlement because it knows you couldn't take legal action if it refuses to pay you.
Partnering with an experienced car accident lawyer is essential to ensure that you file your case before the deadline expires. You should retain an attorney as soon as possible after your crash. Take advantage of my offer of a free consultation to learn about my extensive experience in these cases and how I can assist you. Call my San Diego office to schedule your appointment today.