Is there a deadline for filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for my injuries?
- July 27, 2016
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, and the responsible party has not compensated you, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for those injuries. But, as with most legal issues, there is a limited time frame for beginning a lawsuit. In the state of California, the statute of limitations (deadline) for beginning a legal case for personal injuries is covered by two separate laws: (1) California Code of Civil Procedures, section 335.1 is for non-government claims and must be started within two years; and (2) California Government Code, subsection 911.2 is for claims against any California municipality and must be started within six months.
The time period for starting a lawsuit also varies depending on the circumstances of your case. The clock starts within a certain period of time after an injury or accident. However, there is a rule called the Discovery of Harm, where you may be entitled to additional filing time because you were not aware of your injury until sometime after the initial accident. Personal injury lawsuits and the governing court procedures are not easily understood by the average citizen. Don’t risk missing a filing deadline and don’t risk underestimating the full amount of compensation due to you. An experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury attorney is your best line of defense when dealing with insurance representatives, the other party’s attorney, all of the required legal documentation, and when appearing in court.
Most victims do not realize that recovering compensation is more than being paid for medical expenses, lost wages, and the restoration of any damaged property. If you are suffering from long term injuries or a permanent disabling injury, you may be entitled to long term medical coverage, nursing home care, and rehabilitation expenses. These types of monetary recoveries are classified as economic damages. There are also non-economic damages that include pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive damages, loss of companionship, and future financial losses. The California legal system has established damage caps for non-economic damages.
If a family member died as a direct result of an injury or accident, you can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. While not all family members can file a wrongful death claim, spouses can sue for themselves and for any minor children. Your personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and determine your legal rights.
There are damage cap exceptions for claims against a responsible party for intentionally acting in a way to harm you. There are also exceptions in cases where the responsible party is being charged with deliberate negligence for a financial gain. Your injury attorney will evaluate your case and advise you on the most effective course of action for any potential damage lawsuit.
Your personal medical situation is the first concern with any injury or accident. Having skilled legal representation is your next consideration. If you are not physically able to come to the lawyer’s office, a family member can arrange for the attorney to come to your bedside. Besides having an initial free consultation, you want an attorney that will work on a contingency basis. This means that your lawyer only gets paid when you get paid, even if this is a settlement with insurance companies outside of the courts.
When you meet with your attorney, be sure to bring all of the supporting information that you have. This includes pictures of the injury or accident scene, any police and hospital reports, names of any witnesses, proof of lost employment, medical records, doctors’ reports, and insurance company information for both yourself and the allegedly responsible party. The more information you can provide, the stronger your claim may be.
Your attorney will analyze all aspects of your claim, calculate any compensation that you may be entitled to, and advise you on what type of lawsuit to file. After your case has been accepted, you can concentrate on getting well while your attorney will file your case into the court system. Your lawyer, who is familiar with the local court structure, will also work on your behalf in communicating with everyone involved with your lawsuit. The sooner you engage a specialized personal injury attorney, the sooner your financial recovery can begin.