How Long Do You Have to File Suit in California?
When it comes to suing for personal injury, you only have a certain amount of time to pursue the defendant for damages. According to the California statute of limitations, you have two (2) years to file your personal injury lawsuit. The clock starts ticking the moment of your accident or injury. There are very few times the judge will agree to pause or extend the statutes period. In fact, there are only a handful of situations in which the court will put the statute of limitations clock on hold. This includes:
- You were a minor when you got hurt. The clock starts again on your 18th birthday.
- You were declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. Once you are declared competent, the clock will start again.
- The defendant committed fraud to avoid being served.
It is very rare that any of these circumstances will apply. But if it does, your attorney can file for an extension.
If You Miss the Filing Deadline Your Case Will be Dismissed
A lot of our clients think that their California personal injury lawyers can fix anything. If they forget to sign something, the judge will let you refile your papers. If you forget to add a defendant to your complaint, your attorney can always file an amended complaint. But if you miss the statute of limitations deadline, there’s nothing they can do to help. If the judge doesn’t dismiss the matter themselves, the defendant’s lawyer will file a motion to dismiss, and the judge will have to grant their motion. Rather than risk this happening, just get it filed before the deadline and you’ll be fine.
The Judges Do Not Give Extensions
When it comes to some of the court rules, the judges may be able to bend the rules a little bit. They have judicial discretion in a lot of things. However, when it comes to the statute of limitations, they cannot change the law. You need to get your case filed as soon as possible so you don’t miss the filing deadline. If not, the judge is going to dismiss your case and you won’t be allowed to refile. Even if the judge doesn’t dismiss it, the other party will surely file a motion to dismiss. The judge will have to grant their motion. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to pursue the matter at a later date.
Sit Down with an Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer
For some people who get hurt in an accident, they see no reason to hire a California personal injury lawyer. They figure they can handle it on their own. After all, how hard can it be to file some paperwork with the Court? At some point, you may realize that you’re in over your head. By the time you meet with a California personal injury lawyer, it could be too late. If you don’t get your case filed before the statute of limitations period runs out, you’ll get nothing. That’s why it’s a good idea to meet with your attorney sooner rather than later.
All you need to do is schedule your free, initial consultation. Just because you take advantage of the free consultation, that doesn’t mean you have to hire an attorney. The ultimate decision is up to you. Just keep in mind – the defendant will have lawyers working for them. If you choose to represent yourself, you’ll likely be at a serious disadvantage.
Call today and schedule a date and time that works for you.