You could suffer devastating injuries in a pedestrian accident that could affect your ability to work, take care of your day-to-day needs, and enjoy your quality of life. If a negligent driver caused your injuries, you would need to file a claim for compensation with their insurance company.
When pursuing your rights, you need to understand the steps needed to build a winning case and the basic laws you must follow under California law. One crucial law you must know is the deadline you have to file your lawsuit. You could face serious consequences if you fail to follow this rule.
What Is the Deadline to File Your Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit?
The time period you have to sue the negligent driver is referred to as the statute of limitations. There are three different deadlines that could apply to your case. They are:
- Personal injury. You have two years from the date of your pedestrian crash to file your lawsuit for the personal injuries you suffered.
- Death. If a family member was killed in a pedestrian accident, you would have two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death action. This date could be different from the day the collision occurred.
- Property damage. If your property, such as a smartwatch, cellphone, or tablet, was damaged, you have three years from the date of the crash to file a civil lawsuit for the cost to repair or replace them.
What Is the Statute of Limitations If a Child Is Injured in a Pedestrian Collision?
The deadline to sue is different if your child suffered injuries in a pedestrian crash and was a minor under 18 years old. They would need to follow these rules:
- The statute of limitations would not begin to run until they turned 18 years old.
- They would have two years from their 18th birthday to sue the negligent driver.
Deadline to Sue If a Government’s Negligence Caused Your Injuries
The rules are also different if a governmental employee caused your pedestrian accident, or a governmental agency’s negligence in maintaining the roads or sidewalks caused your injuries. You would need to give the state or municipal agency notice of your claim within six months of your collision.
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations?
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the time period you have to sue, the consequences could be disastrous. The judge would most likely dismiss your lawsuit. Although there is no deadline to file a claim with the insurance company, they would have no incentive to offer you a settlement when they know that you cannot sue them.
Why You Do Not Want to Wait to Pursue Your Claim
If your pedestrian accident occurred recently, you may feel like you can wait to file your claim because you have a long time before the deadline to sue will expire. However, this would not be a smart strategy if you want to receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
You will be able to build a stronger case if you retain an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. A lawyer will have an easier time collecting the evidence you need to prove the motorist’s negligence when you contact them right away. If you wait to hire a lawyer, evidence could be lost, or witnesses could have their memories of how your crash occurred fade.
Your lawyer can also help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your claim. These include not getting prompt medical care, agreeing to give a recorded statement, and accepting a quick settlement of your claim.
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident in the San Diego or Southern California area? Was a loved one killed? Start a live chat or fill out my online form to schedule your free case evaluation to learn about your rights and how I can help you obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement.