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July 19, 2023

22 California Personal Injury Statute FAQs

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

As a certified California attorney referral service, we have heard many questions about the California personal injury statute of limitations. In this post, we list out the most common we hear to help you determine if you have a valid personal injury claim to make.

California Personal Injury Statute Overview hide

1. What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a person must file a lawsuit.

2. What is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury.

3. How do I know if I have a valid personal injury case?

To determine if you have a valid personal injury case under California law, you generally need to establish that you suffered an injury or harm due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. You then need to demonstrate a clear link between the injury and the responsible party’s actions or omissions.

4. When does the clock start ticking on the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California?

The clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California from the date the injury occurred or when it was discovered.

5. Are there any exceptions or extensions to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California?

There are some exceptions or extensions to the statute of limitations, such as when the injured person is a minor, has a disability, or when the injury was caused by exposure to toxic substances.

6. What happens if I file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired?

If you file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you may lose your right to seek compensation.

7. Can the statute of limitations be tolled or paused in California personal injury cases?

The statute of limitations can be tolled or paused in certain circumstances, such as when the defendant is out of the state or the injured person is mentally incapacitated.

8. Does the statute of limitations differ for different types of personal injury claims in California?

The statute of limitations may vary for different types of personal injury claims in California, such as medical malpractice, product liability, or wrongful death. It’s important to consult an attorney to understand the specific time limits for your case.

9. Is there a different statute of limitations for claims against government entities in California?

Yes, there are different rules and shorter time limits when filing a personal injury claim against government entities in California. Prompt action is crucial in such cases.

10. Can the statute of limitations be extended for minors or individuals with disabilities?

The statute of limitations can be extended for minors, allowing them to file a claim within a certain period after turning 18. Individuals with disabilities may also have extensions based on their condition.

11. How can I ensure that I file my personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations in California?

To ensure you file your personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations in California, it is advisable to consult with an attorney promptly after the injury occurs to understand the specific time limitations that apply to your case and take appropriate legal action.

12. Are there different statutes of limitations for intentional torts (e.g., assault, battery) compared to negligence-based personal injury claims in California?

Yes, intentional torts typically have a shorter statute of limitations compared to negligence-based personal injury claims in California.

13. Can the statute of limitations be extended in cases where the injury was not immediately apparent or when it manifests later?

Yes, the statute of limitations can be extended in cases where the injury was not immediately apparent, and the discovery of the injury occurred later.

14. How does the “discovery rule” apply to personal injury claims in California?

The “discovery rule” allows the statute of limitations to start when the injury is discovered or should have been reasonably discovered, rather than from the date of the actual injury.

15. What are the time limits for filing a personal injury claim involving a minor in California?

In cases involving a minor, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is generally extended, allowing them to file a claim within a certain period after turning 18.

16. Are there specific statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California?

Yes, medical malpractice claims in California have their own specific statute of limitations, generally three years from the date of the injury or one year from the date of discovery, whichever comes first.

17. How does the statute of limitations apply to cases involving wrongful death in California?

For wrongful death cases in California, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the individual’s death.

18. What happens if the defendant leaves the state or conceals their identity, making it difficult to file a personal injury lawsuit within the standard time limits?

If the defendant leaves the state or conceals their identity, the statute of limitations may be tolled until they can be properly identified or located.

19. Can the statute of limitations be extended if the injured person was mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury?

Yes, the statute of limitations can be extended if the injured person was mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury, allowing them to file a claim within a certain period after regaining capacity.

20. Are there any specific deadlines or notice requirements for filing a personal injury claim against a government entity in California?

Yes, there are specific deadlines and notice requirements for filing a personal injury claim against a government entity in California, which are generally much shorter than those for claims against private individuals or entities.

21. Are there any exceptions to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims arising from accidents involving public transportation or common carriers?

Yes, there may be specific statutes of limitations for personal injury claims involving auto accidents with public transportation or common carriers, depending on the circumstances and the entities involved.

22. When should an injured person hire a lawyer?

If you have concerns about the California personal injury statute of limitations, you should hire an injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. They can help you navigate the legal process if you have a valid case.

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About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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