When you suffer a serious injury in California in a car crash, slip-and-fall incident or something similar due to someone else’s negligence, you may look to that person or entity to cover your medical care and other associated expenses. However, if you wish to pursue a legal claim against the party you feel caused your injury, you must abide by a certain timeframe in doing so.
According to the California Courts, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in California is, in most cases, two years from the day you suffered the injury. This is typically the case unless one of the following is true.
You did not notice the injury right away
In some cases, you may not realize right away that you experienced a serious injury in a car wreck or similar incident. For example, many victims of whiplash do not develop obvious symptoms until sometime after their involvement in a rear-end crash. In this scenario, you would have two years from the date you discovered your injury to file a claim against the party you feel was responsible for causing it.
You did not realize what caused the injury right away
“Delayed discovery” occurs when you do not realize right away that you suffered a serious injury. However, delayed discovery may also come into play if a reasonable investigation may not have revealed the link between your serious injury and what caused it. For example, delayed discovery rules may apply if your use of a defective product caused your injury, but it would not be clear through a reasonable and diligent investigation that the product was defective.
Unless your situation is a rare exception like those outlined above, you lose your ability to pursue a claim against the negligent party once two years have passed.