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 of limitations.
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.
- Medical Malpractice
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 in California
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.
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