Every day, more than a thousand motor vehicle accidents in California result in injury or property damage. If you get into a car accident, your priority is to recover. You just want to focus on your healing and nothing else.
However, beware. A statute of limitations of your potential car accident claim restricts the amount of time you have to bring legal action in court. An experienced Pasadena personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case and advise you on the appropriate time to file.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Pasadena?
If you were involved in a car accident in California, you have a right to seek compensation against negligent parties. But you must bring this claim within a specific timeline. In California, you have two (2) years to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim that is connected to the car accident.
The statute of limitations is important because it ensures the cases are resolved quickly.
When is the Best Time to File a Car Accident Claim in California?
If you file a claim after the applicable statute of limitations expires, the judge will most likely dismiss the case if the defendant petitions the court. This means you will lose your right to compensation.
It is always advisable to present a claim with the negligent party’s insurer as you continue getting medical treatment and therapy. Once the damages are determined, the insurance adjuster may settle the claim for a reasonable amount. This way, you’d have avoided the congested courts and the high cost of litigation involved in lawsuits.
While two years seems like a long time to file a car accident claim, such claims often require extensive investigations. Your Pasadena car accident attorney may need more time to build a tight case depending on the complexity of your case. So, even if you wish to settle the claim outside of court, the statute of limitations still applies.
When Does the Clock Start Running?
The clock starts on the day it becomes clear that you may have a legal claim, and in most cases, this is on the day of the crash. So if you were injured on July 1, 2022, you have until July 1, 2024, to file a personal injury claim.
However, if someone dies and the family wishes to bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party, then the time will start running on the date of the person’s death.
What Type of Issues Can Affect the Statute of Limitations?
The deadline to file may be extended if the person you intend to sue is in prison, out of state, or insane.
Similarly, the court will not discharge your claim if the defendant files for bankruptcy and will wait until the bankruptcy proceedings have been completed.
What if a Government Employee Caused the Car Accident?
If you suffered injuries or your car got damaged after a car accident with a government employee in California, e.g., rear-ended by a city bus, you will need to give notice of your claim within six (6) months. If the government entity denies the claim, you will have one year to file a lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File for Damages to My Car?
Sometimes you may not suffer any bodily injuries, but your car ends up with severe damage. Luckily, you have more time to file a property damage claim. You will be required to file a claim for property damage within three (3) years after the motor vehicle accident. Missing this deadline even for a day will mean negating your property claim. Talk to a Pasadena car accident attorney to help protect your rights.
What Happens if the Deadline Has Passed?
The deadlines exist for a reason. Trying to get witness testimonies after a significant amount of time has passed may be difficult as memories fade and evidence can get lost. The case will likely be dismissed if you try to file after the deadline has passed.
Strategically speaking, you want to leave yourself enough time to file a lawsuit even if you’re confident the case will be resolved through the claim process. You will be able to negotiate soberly while knowing you still have one more avenue to pursue your damages. If you feel worried the deadline is fast approaching, talk to a skilled Pasadena car accident attorney immediately to learn your options.
What Should I Do if I Was Only Visiting California but Live in A Different State?
If the accident happened in California, you can only file a lawsuit in California and nowhere else. You will also not get additional time no matter where you live.
What if I Don’t Have Insurance?
If you were not at fault, you could still file with the other party’s insurance company. However, you’ll need your own legal representation before filing a claim against the. That’s why you need to contact a personal injury lawyer in California who’s experienced in car accidents.
Legal Guidance from Top-Level Injury Attorneys
Car accidents can be life-changing. They may leave you with expensive medical bills and property repairs impossible to bear on your own. You have a good chance of recovering your losses if you file within the time limits. But you can also maximize your compensation by consulting with a car accident lawyer.
Our law firm has built a reputation in Pasadena by giving quality representation to clients who have suffered some form of injury. We will use our over 35 years of experience serving Los Angeles County personal injury clients. Let’s help you navigate the process and get you what you deserve. Get in touch with us by booking a FREE case evaluation.