Filing late may terminate your rights.
The laws setting forth deadlines by which lawsuits must be filed are generally known as the “Statute of Limitations”. The “Statute of Limitations” vary from State to State. They vary by who is suing and who is being sued. They vary by the type and subject matter of the lawsuit. Generally, failure to timely file will terminate your right to a recovery.
For California cases
Personal injury claims: Generally two years from the date of injury.
Malpractice/Professional Negligence claims: Generally one year and there may be procedure to follow before filing.
Claims against governmental agencies: Generally six months after a denial of the claim. Generally, a written claim must be properly filed within six months of the time of the injury.
Why is “generally” used in every statement above? The exceptions and qualifications for specificity as to the statute of limitations in any given situation would take ten pages to explain. You don’t want to read all that and I don’t want to write it all out.
There are different rules for minors (children). There are different rules that can apply when suing a fiduciary, like a doctor, attorney, accountant and so on. The procedures are different if you are making a claim against a governmental agency. The rules change from time to time. For example, before 2003, the personal injury statute of limitations in California was one year.
If you are considering a personal injury claim, get a consultation with from one or more well respected law firms. One of the first things the attorney will due is figure out the statute of limitations that applies to your situation. People involved in the same automobile accident could have different filing requirements.
Remember that preservation of evidence is key to a claim or lawsuit. Preservation of evidence in personal injury cases include taking pictures of injuries, treatment and challenges during recovery. Explaining to an insurance adjuster or jury the “pain and suffering” you endured when your burn dressings were being changed or how difficult it was to get showered and dressed after a spinal surgery, is not nearly as effective in words, as it is with pictures, or better yet with a video.
If you need assistance figuring out the statute of limitations applicable to your personal injury claim, when and how to file a governmental claim, what evidence to preserve and how to preserve it, call or email me. The call is free. The consultation is free.