How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?
After a major car accident, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to file a claim. You may be busy tending to your own injuries or caring for a loved one, not thinking about the paperwork you need to complete or the possibility of filing a lawsuit. In some cases, you may not realize that you suffered an injury in an accident until well after the accident has passed. Unfortunately, ignoring the deadlines involved in getting compensated after an accident can lead to the permanent loss of your right to seek damages. Learn about how long you have to car accident claim injury, and speak with a seasoned Los Angeles car accident attorney if you’ve been hurt in a crash.
Basic Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Claim in California
In California, individuals generally have two years from the date of an accident to file a claim for compensation for the injuries they suffered in a crash, and three years to file a claim for property damage resulting from the crash. This two or three-year period is known as the statute of limitations. When this period ends, the accident victim will lose the right to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Time limits on filing a claim are different when the at-fault driver worked for the government. When the defendant to a personal injury lawsuit was a police officer or other emergency responder, a bus driver, city-owned trash collector, or another employee of local, state, or federal government, the window to file a claim is much smaller. Victims of accidents involving government-owned vehicles in California have only six months to file a claim against the government office involved.
Rushing to Settle Can Have Negative Consequences
While it is important to take legal action before the statute of limitations expires, there are also risks involved in settling a claim too soon. Insurance companies will often make early offers to settle claims that will sound tempting to someone who is facing a mounting pile of bills after an accident. However, an accident victim may not know how much they will need to spend on treating their injuries so soon after a crash. By accepting a settlement, you’re agreeing not to take any further legal action against the at-fault driver, no matter how much more money you end up spending on accident-related costs. An early settlement offer may sound like enough money to cover the expenses you’ve incurred so far, but if your doctor hasn’t yet identified how much more treatment you’ll need to make a full recovery, or if your injuries haven’t yet fully manifested, then you can’t be sure of how much your claim is worth. An experienced Glendale accident lawyer can help you calculate the true value of your claim and negotiate with insurers on your behalf.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident in California, get a free consultation from seasoned, professional, and dedicated Los Angeles personal injury lawyers by contacting the law offices of McReynolds Vardanyan LLP at 818-855-2115.