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How soon do I need to bring a case after a pedestrian accident?
- March 29, 2017
Every year, there are over 60,000 injuries that result from pedestrian accidents. Moreover, there are more than 4,000 pedestrians from these types of incidents. Pedestrian Right of Way laws in California protect pedestrians from negligent drivers and other liable parties.
When should you bring a pedestrian accident personal injury case to suit?
If you have been in an pedestrian accident, the sooner you bring your case to an attorney and file for damages, the better. In all states in the United States, there are statutes of limitations that limit the time period in which you can bring a case to court. Statutes of limitations in different states vary depending on the type of case being presented. In California, personal injury cases, which include pedestrian accidents, have a statue of limitations of two years. This means that you have two years to bring your case to suit.
What you need to know about bringing a pedestrian accident personal injury case against a private party motorist
Here, it’s important to note that the California statute of limitations of two years for a pedestrian accident applies to suits against private party motorists. In other words, this statute of limitations applies to all those motorists who are nongovernmental.
Pedestrian accidents with government and public entities
On the other hand, if you have been struck by a government-based vehicle, such as a train or bus that is operated by public transportation, you have less time to file your suit. Most bus lines in California are operated through the state government, so this applies to almost all bus lines.
In California, if you have been in the pedestrian accident with a public transportation vehicle or other government–related vehicle, you only have six months to file your claim. This six-month period applies to the claim only. From that point on, you will have an additional two years from the accident date to file your complete lawsuit. There are other situations in which the six-month statute of limitations applies, and all of them are related to getting into a pedestrian accident with various public entities as opposed to private party motorists.
For example, the six-month statute of limitations would apply if the pedestrian was struck by a county sheriff’s patrol vehicle or a police car. The six-month statute of limitation would also apply if a defective crosswalk or traffic signal cause the accident. Finally, if another type of government owned and operated vehicle caused the accident, the six-month statute of limitations would apply.
Exceptions on the statute of limitations in California
Certain extenuating circumstances may allow for someone to file their lawsuit even though the statute of limitations time period has run out. For example, if physical or mental incapacitation caused the injured victim to be unable to file their lawsuits during the statute of limitations time period, they may be able to file their claim after the official statute of limitations.
Furthermore, if the manifestation of the injury took place later than the date of the accident, the statute of limitations start date may be able to start on that day instead of on the actual date of the accident. In this case, the date of the accident is called the date of harm, and the date of recognition of the consequences of the accident is called the date of discovery of harm. The latter would be considered the start date for the statute of limitations if the manifestation of the injuries took place after the date of the accident.
Finally, if the person injured in the pedestrian accident was under the age of 18 and considered a minor when the accident took place, the statutory period would not begin until the plaintiff’s 18th birthday, and the plaintiff would then have two years to file the claim if applicable.
Contact an attorney for help
Once again, don’t wait until it’s too late to bring a case in which you have a rightful entitlement to damages and compensation. If you were a pedestrian in an accident that caused you serious personal injury, contact an experienced attorney in your area as soon as you can about getting started with filing and making sure that you get what you deserve.