Car accidents are a common occurrence on California’s busy roads and highways. With over 38 million residents, California has the largest population in the United States. As a result, California has a large number of vehicles on the road. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were over 220,000 injuries and 3,600 fatalities from car accidents in 2019. Injured victims of car accidents often seek compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, seeking compensation is not always a straightforward process, and the California statute of limitations can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to recover damages.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a legal claim must be filed. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to ensure that legal claims are brought in a timely manner, and evidence is still fresh and reliable. In the context of car accident claims, the statute of limitations determines how long an injured victim has to file a claim for compensation.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means that an individual who is injured in a car accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation. If a claim is not filed within the two-year time limit, the claim is generally time-barred, and the individual will be unable to recover any damages for their injuries.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations in California. For example, if the injured party is a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations is extended. Under California law, a minor has two years from their 18th birthday to file a claim. Therefore, if a 16-year-old is injured in a car accident, they have until their 20th birthday to file a claim for compensation.
Another exception is the discovery rule. The discovery rule applies in cases where the injury or its cause was not immediately apparent. As a result the statute of limitations may begin when the injury or cause is discovered. For example, if an individual suffers from a brain injury as a result of a car accident, but the injury is not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may begin when the injury is discovered. In that case, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help determine whether the discovery rule may apply to your claim.
Impact of the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims
The statute of limitations has a significant impact on personal injury claims. Specifically, an individual’s ability to seek compensation for damages resulting from a car accident. If an individual fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations, their claim will likely be time-barred. In that case they will be unable to recover any damages for their injuries. It is crucial to file a claim within the statute of limitations to ensure that legal rights are protected.
Additionally, the statute of limitations can impact an individual’s ability to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters may use the limitations as leverage to pressure claimants into accepting a lower settlement amount or to settle the claim quickly. In some cases, insurance companies may try to delay the claims process to exceed the statute of limitations, leaving claimants with no recourse for recovering damages.
Reach Out to a Personal Injury Attorney
To ensure that legal rights are protected, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that your claim is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Steps to Take after a Car Accident
If you are injured in a car accident, there are several steps that you should take to protect your legal rights and ensure that you can seek compensation for your damages
Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important step after a car accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel like you are seriously injured, it is essential to get evaluated by a medical professional. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Because of this, delaying medical treatment can worsen the injury and make it harder to recover damages in a claim.
Contact The Police
Contact the police as soon as possible after the accident. The police will create an accident report. In this case it can be helpful in proving liability and damages in a personal injury claim. The accident report will include important information about the accident. Such as the date, time, location, and a description of the accident.
If possible, take photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, the location of the accident, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from any witnesses to the accident. Their statements may be valuable in proving liability in a personal injury claim.
Contact a Westlake Village Personal Injury Lawyer
The statute of limitations has a significant impact on the ability to seek compensation for damages resulting from an accident. An experienced Westlake Village personal injury lawyer will be a great asset.
It’s important to recognize that it pays to seek out professional guidance. Consulting with qualified personal injury lawyer, like Vititoe Law Group, can give you the assurance that your interests are properly represented. Additionally, having a skilled lawyer on your side can help ensure that all of the technical nuances of the law are addressed.
If you have been injured in an accident it is important that you contact a Westlake Village personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Since there are deadlines as to when you can file a claim. Vititoe Law Group can help you obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. We have your best interest at heart and truly care about you and your recovery. We will focus on the claims while you focus on recovery.
OVER $1 BILLION RECOVERED IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Vititoe Law Group is a nationally recognized Law Firm, founded by James W. Vititoe, a Westlake Village Personal Injury Lawyer. Specializing in personal injury cases, car accidents, bus accidents, truck accidents and brain injury cases.
Over the past 30 years award winning attorney James W. Vititoe and his team of lawyers have been involved in cases resulting in settlements of over $1 Billion dollars.
James has a long track record as a consumer advocate and has been involved in numerous landmark legal cases.