Not as long as you might think. If you must file a civil complaint for compensation for injuries in a dog bite case, you must comply with California’s statute of limitations for doing so. The statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file your lawsuit. If you fail to comply with this law, the penalty is extremely harsh.
What Is the Deadline to File Your Dog Bite Case?
In California, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit in your dog bite case is two years from the date of your dog bite. If you fail to file your complaint within this time period, the judge will most likely dismiss it without hearing your case.
When Can the Statute of Limitations Be Tolled?
Tolling of the statute of limitations means the deadline to file a complaint is suspended for a certain period of time. In dog bite cases, the deadline to sue can be tolled in these situations:
- The dog bite victim is a minor under 18.
- The dog owner or other negligent party is out of state for a period of time.
- The victim is mentally incompetent.
- The victim is in prison.
Once the circumstances that caused tolled time limit have passed, the statute of limitations will resume. For example, once a dog bite victim turns 18 years old, he will have two years from that date to file his lawsuit.
Why You Don't Want to Delay Retaining an Attorney
Even if you have plenty of time under the statute of limitations to file your civil complaint, you shouldn't hesitate to contact experienced legal counsel. You'll strengthen your claim and avoid making mistakes that significantly hurt your case by hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after your dog bite attack.
If you live in San Diego County or Southern California, I can file your claim with the dog owner’s insurance company and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call my office to schedule a free consultation today, and take advantage of the advice in my free book, The Ultimate California Dog Bite and Animal Attack Legal Survival Book.