California Personal Injury Claim Timeframes
FILING A LAWSUIT
After being involved in an accident, you received a letter from the insurance company advising you of your rights and letting you know that you have to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. Wait! What? What is this legal mumbo jumbo that someone is throwing in your face? For a lot of people, this is the first time they are hearing these words and/or seeing them written in a sentence. So, what does this all mean?
A statute of limitations is a written law that establishes or prescribes a period of limitation for filing certain kinds of legal actions. In this case, you were in a car accident, your car was completely totaled and you have been seeing different doctors to assist you with head, neck, and back pains. So, essentially, you have claims for both personal injury and property damage.
In the State of California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 2 years from the date of the accident. The statute of limitations for bringing an action for property damage is 3 years.
While most personal injury claims are settled before a lawsuit is ever filed, these dates or important to know. In the event that either you or your legal representatives are unable to settle the claim, a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations has run, or you will likely lose your right to bring legal action against the at-fault party.
NOTIFYING YOUR INSURANCE
Please do not confuse the legal statute of limitation for filing a claim against the at-fault party with the time in which you are supposed to notify your insurance. Truth be told, if you are involved in a car accident and intend on filing a claim, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If you fail to notify your insurance company, many policies dictate that your failure to notify the insurance provider in a timely manner could result in a denial of any current or future claims.
NOTIFYING THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
If you are involved in a Motor Vehicle accident in California, you must report the accident to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles if any of the following are true:
- There was [property damage of more than $1,000 ($750 for accidents that occurred prior to January 1, 2017); or
- Anyone involved in the accident was injured, regardless of how minor the accident was; or
- Anyone was killed.
It is important to remember that EACH driver has to make a report with the DMV within 10 days of the accident. It does not matter who the at-fault party is/was.
Navigating the law is not easy. If you have been in an accident and have ANY questions, feel free to contact our office at any time. Khalil Law Group is available to consumers 24/7. We are here to help! 714-617-5189.