The phrase “statute of limitations” is one you have no doubt heard in TV shows or movies, but you may not know quite what it means or what the applicable statute is in California for your claim. In the media, we often hear statute of limitations being applied to the time in which prosecutors must bring a criminal charge against a criminal defendant, but the concept also applies to civil claims such as negligence claims, and the applicable time depends on the type of claim you are pursuing and the state law of the controlling jurisdiction.
California’s Negligence Statute of Limitations: Two Years
Under California law, an injured victim has two years from the date of injury to file their personal injury suit against the defendants. Although two years can seem like a long time, delay is often caused when a victim initially feels that their injuries are not significant but later finds that there is lasting pain and expensive bills. Also, it may take time for you and your attorney to fully investigate your accident in order to identify and track down all liable defendants, thus contacting an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident is in your interest.
Medical Malpractice: 1 or 3 Years (Whichever is Sooner)
When a plaintiff’s claim is based not on ordinary negligence but rather on the professional negligence (also called medical malpractice) of a medical provider, there is a more complicated statute of limitations. In such cases, the patient has one year from the date of discovery of the injury or three years from the date of the injury, whichever occurs first.
Thus, if you are injured by a doctor’s professional negligence in January 2017, but do not discover the injury until March 2018 (and would not have discovered it earlier through reasonable diligence), then you would have until March 2019 (one year after discovery) to file a lawsuit. But if you do not make the same discovery until April 2019, then you would only have until January 2020, because the maximum time you have under the statute is three years from the date of injury to file the suit.
Contact an Southern California Personal Injury Attorney Today
When you work with the legal team at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, you can expect a trusted legal advisor and guide at your side. By contacting us as soon as possible after your injury, we can immediately step into action to begin investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and working with your medical provider to build your best case for maximum recovery.
Our multilingual staff is here to help injured victims and their families across Los Angeles and Southern California. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation regarding your potential claim.