How many years do I have to file an auto accident injury claim in California?

Question:

How many years do I have to file an auto accident injury claim in California?

Answer:

If you've been injured in a car accident in California, under state law you've got two years from the date of the accident to file a car accident lawsuit in the proper branch of the state's civil court system. This deadline is set by a state law known as the statute of limitations. Every state has such a law, and you'll find California's version at California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.

As mentioned above, the "clock" on the two-year deadline starts running on the date of the accident. Keep in mind that your lawsuit doesn't need to be resolved within the two years; the deadline only applies to getting the car accident lawsuit started by filing the initial civil complaint against the at-fault driver.

What happens if you miss the deadline? Unless one of the rare exceptions applies to your case (i.e. you were a minor or were mentall incapacitated), the court is likely to throw out your lawsuit if you try to file it after the statute of limitations has passed. So it's important to understand and abide by the lawsuit filing deadline. 

(More: Car Accident Laws in California)

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