When plaintiffs file a personal injury lawsuit they must pay close attention to the applicable statute of limitations
. This is the limited amount of time during which they are allowed to take legal action against a defendant who harmed them.
In California, this time limit is two years from the accident. In some limited circumstances, this deadline can be suspended. One of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys
can help you understand the legal limitations and, when possible in your case, pause the statute of limitations
Suspending the discovery phase
The statute of limitations
may depend on the type of accident you’ve suffered. As a general rule, this time period is two years from the date the accident took place but in medical malpractice cases
, it can be two years from the date you’ve discovered the injury.
This time period is significantly reduced for personal injury claims against a government entity. In these cases, the statute of limitations
is only six months from the date of the injury.
One of the most common cases in which the statute of limitations can be stalled occurs if the discovery phase is delayed. The normal statute of limitations runs from the date of the injury but this will not apply if the injury is not discoverable at that particular time. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations only applies from the date the plaintiff discovers (or should have discovered) the injury. This can also apply if the plaintiff is well aware of the injury but it is not certain that the defendant caused the injury.
One of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can help analyze your case and determine if the statute of limitations can be tolled.
Your personal injury claim
The decision to file a personal injury claim
will also trigger the statute of limitations unless one of the situations described above applies to your case. If you choose to take the case to court you will have to observe this two year period. Any claims submitted after this time are likely to be dismissed by the judge.
The help of an expert can be useful in determining if your case is valid and if you can still recover damages within the two year period.