Understanding the Statute of Limitations and Your Vista Personal Injury Case

You might file an insurance claim for damages after sustaining injuries in an accident or other incident. Many personal injury cases settle through negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

However, if you cannot settle your personal injury claim, you might need to file a lawsuit against the party who caused you harm. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they have a limited time to file a lawsuit for their Vista personal injury case. If you do not file a timely personal injury lawsuit, you give up the right to settle your claim in court.

That means you lose the right to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You could be responsible for these costs. Furthermore, the person who caused your injury avoids responsibility for the pain and suffering they caused.

Therefore, it is crucial for injured victims and their families to understand how California’s statute of limitations impacts their cases. Our Vista personal injury lawyers can help.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Each state enacts statutes of limitations for cases filed in their state. A statute of limitation applies in criminal cases and civil cases, including personal injury claims. 

The statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing lawsuits. The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) sets deadlines for commencing civil actions. Likewise, the California Penal Code contains the deadlines for filing criminal charges. 

After the deadline passes, a case may be dismissed if the person tries to file a lawsuit. Furthermore, the party who caused the injury is not legally liable to pay economic and non-economic damages after the statute of limitations expires.

Why Does California Use a Statute of Limitations?

A state imposes statutes of limitations for many reasons. It might seem unfair that an injured party could run out of time to file a lawsuit, but there are good reasons for limiting the time to file lawsuits.

For example, deadlines to file court cases encourage parties to file complaints quickly. In addition, they prevent a backlog of old cases from being filed with the court. Therefore, the court’s schedule can operate efficiently to resolve timely filed lawsuits.

Furthermore, evidence can be lost or destroyed when someone waits too long to file a lawsuit. The memories of the parties and eyewitnesses can fade over time. It also allows parties to build cases while they can access evidence to support their claims. 

Setting deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits also prevents parties from using the courts to litigate old matters for other reasons. In addition, it gives defendants the peace of mind that they cannot be sued decades after an accident. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Vista Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit depends on the type of claim in dispute. Most personal injury claims are based on negligence. The statute of limitations sets a two-year deadline for most personal injury cases based on negligence claims.

Examples of the types of personal injury cases that have a two-year deadline for filing a lawsuit include, but are not limited to:

  • Car accidents
  • Premises liability claims
  • Trucking accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents

A property damage claim related to the injury case has a three-year statute of limitations. The facts and circumstances of the case could change the deadline. Therefore, it is always wise to seek legal advice from a Vista personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a personal injury or accident. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Vista Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

A personal injury or accident can result in wrongful death. A wrongful death action arises when another party causes the untimely death of someone because of the party’s negligence, intentional torts, or other wrongdoing. 

Generally, the deadline for filing wrongful death lawsuits in California is also two years. The time begins with the person’s date of death. Therefore, if your loved one is injured in a car crash and survives the crash for a month, the statute of limitations would begin a month after the accident instead of the day of the car accident. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing Vista Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

Medical malpractice claims have different deadlines. The California statute of limitations for most medical malpractice lawsuits is:

  • Three years from the date of the medical malpractice; OR,
  • Within one year of the date the patient discovers the injury,
  • Whichever date comes first.

However, the law provides several exceptions to the deadline for filing medical malpractice claims. The deadline is paused (tolled) if the victim is a minor. The law also tolls the deadline if the medical provider left a foreign object in the patient’s body or committed some type of misconduct.

Calculating the deadline to file a California medical malpractice lawsuit can be complicated. Contact our Vista medical malpractice lawyers immediately if you suspect a healthcare professional caused you harm or injury. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Suing the Government in California?

Most government agencies are protected from lawsuits by sovereign immunity. California has waived sovereign immunity for most situations involving personal injuries and accidents. Therefore, you might have a claim against the government if you were injured on government property or because of a government employee’s negligence or wrongdoing. 

However, the rules for filing a personal injury claim against a government entity differ. First, you must file an administrative claim with the government agency within six months of the injury date. 

The government agency must respond to your claim within 45 days. If the government denies your claim, you have six months from the denial date to file a personal injury lawsuit in a court of law. However, if the government fails to respond to your claim, you must file your lawsuit within two years from the injury date.

Can the Discover Rule Extend the Statute of Limitations in California Personal Injury Cases?

The discovery rule pauses the statute of limitations when a person does not immediately know about an injury. The time for filing a lawsuit begins when the person knows about the injury or should have reasonably known about the injury.

It can be challenging to prove that a person did not reasonably know, discover, or suspect an injury occurred until much later. Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice immediately if you suspect another party caused your injury. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Vista Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t let time run out to hold the person who caused your injuries liable for the damages they caused. Instead, contact Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Vista personal injury attorney at (619) 344-0360. We fight to get you the money you deserve after a personal injury or accident.