San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer
350 10th Avenue, Suite 1000
San Diego, California 92101
When you are injured in an accident, there is a good chance that your problems
are just starting.
Personal injuries are more than just the physical damage suffered by someone.
A personal injury can also lead to a temporary loss of income, temporary
or chronic pain, and even depression. Fortunately, the law allows an injured
person to file a lawsuit with a court in order to collect damages from
the responsible party.
Lawsuits involving personal injuries must follow rules that insure that
everyone involved in the lawsuit, the injured party (plaintiff) and the
person allegedly responsible (defendant) is treated fairly. These rules
are collected in the California Code of Civil Procedure. For someone who
has been injured, most important sections of the Code are the statutes
California Time Limits On Personal Injury Claims
Like other states, California has a set of laws “on the books”
called the statutes of limitations that place a time limit on when a civil
lawsuit must be filed. For the most common types of cases that a San Diego
personal injury lawyer will be managing, these statutes are:
- Personal Injury or Wrongful Death: 2 years from the date of injury or the
date of death
- Medical Malpractice: 1year or 3 years, as explained below
- Damage to Personal Property: 3 years
If a claim is not filed within the time frame set forth in the statutes
of limitations, you lose your right to sue for damages. There are, however,
specific situations in which these time limits can be modified.
- Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Damage to Personal Property
In personal injury cases, there are times when an injury is not immediately
obvious and is diagnosed weeks or even months later. The two-year statute
of limitations starts from the day the injury was discovered. The statute
for damage to personal property is three years from the date of damage.
The California Code states that a medical malpractice claim must be filed
“… within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through
the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury …”
or within 3 years of the date that the act of malpractice occurred, whichever
occurs first. In other words, after three years you cannot file a malpractice claim!
An exception to this one year – three year rule is made in cases
where a foreign body is left inside the patient. In these cases, there
is no statute of limitations but a claim must be filed within one year
of the discovery.
Personal Injury and Property Damage Claims Filed Against a Government Entity
If you were injured by a government entity (e.g. accidents involving police
or fire department vehicles or slipped on the floor at city hall) of a
town, city, county, or the state of California your injury claim must
be managed under the rules set forth by the California Tort Claims Act.
In personal injury cases where a government agency is involved, the California
Tort Claims Act requires that:
- You must notify, in writing and on the proper form, the State Board of
Control / Government Claims Branch in Sacramento of your claim within
6 months of the date of injury. You must notify the Board and not the
entity or agency!
- The Board then has 45 days to either approve or deny your claim.
- If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you have only 6 months
from the date of the Board’s decision to sue the entity or agency
that was responsible for your injury.
There are other situations in which the statutes of limitations can be
extended, but these extensions can be very technical in nature and will
need to be handled by a San Diego personal injury lawyer.
Why You Need a San Diego Area Personal Injury Attorney
As you have seen, the California laws related to personal injury lawsuits
can be confusing, leaving many injury victims unsure about having missed
the time limit to file a personal injury claim. At the Doan Law Firm the
San Diego personal injury lawyer can help you with this or any other question
that you might have about personal injury lawsuits.
When you call the San Diego personal injury attorney at (760) 991-0000,
your initial consultation is always free or charge and puts you under
no obligation to use our firm. Should you decide that you want us to manage
your personal injury claim, we will accept responsibility for all fees
and charges that are necessary for us to win your case in exchange for
an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we win for you.
The Doan Law Firm
350 10th Avenue, Suite 1000
San Diego, CA 92101