What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?

Emily Parkin

When you’re involved in a personal injury accident, you need to file your lawsuit regarding the case as soon as possible. Just as criminal law uses a statute of limitations, so does civil law.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury

Each state sets a statute of limitations for each type of offense. For example, in California, you only get two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. That statute of limitations applies to adults only. Children involved in a car accident have a bit more time than that depending on their age. According to the state law, a child has from the date of their accident to the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit for personal injury.

This allows them the time to determine the extent of the injuries and their effect on their growth, development, future potential. Although the accident that injures them might occur at age ten, the state allows them eight years to file a lawsuit. If the at-fault party’s insurance took care of the medical costs and rehabilitative care, the child’s parents have time to learn whether the child can fully recover. If they would need extended care into their adult years, the at-fault party should pay this burden. A lawsuit provides the opportunity to obtain a settlement.

Contact an Attorney Quickly Following an Accident

Contact a law office as soon as possible after your accident, so our car accident lawyer can help you start the legal process. You should not wait to discuss or document the accident with an attorney. We will help you document the accident and its cause, locate witnesses, etc.

Documenting Your Case

Although it may take time to file the lawsuit in court, building your legal case consists of much more than a court filing. If you were not able to photograph the accident scene, you’ll need to obtain photos, either from the responding police or witnesses. You’ll also need to provide us with a copy of the police report of the accident and sign a waiver that allows us access to your medical records.

Documenting your case may also require hiring a private investigator or expert witnesses. For example, an expert witness in a car accident might include:

  • accident reconstructionists,
  • highway safety experts,
  • medical experts,
  • economic and financial experts.

Although civil court differs in many ways from criminal court, you still have to show that the at-fault party behaved negligently. The accident reconstructions and highway safety experts help you to establish that the at-fault party violated the legal tenet of duty of care in the operation of their vehicle. Duty of care essentially refers to the reasonable expectation that each driver on the road will adhere to traffic laws, avoid using alcohol or drugs before or during the operation of a motor vehicle, drive defensively, and observe and respond to environmental conditions.

Contact a law office as soon as possible following your accident. We can help you document your case and file a lawsuit to help you recover a fair settlement for your injuries and pain and suffering. Our legal experts will assist you in assembling expert witnesses and accident witnesses to tell your story in court so you can obtain the best possible outcome.

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