After a car accident, the victim of the crash usually seeks to resolve the matter with a car insurance agency. However, under certain circumstances, a settlement with the insurance company will not be enough to cover the damages.

In order to be compensated for your injuries in California, you may need to file a lawsuit. It is only possible to file a lawsuit if you do so within the statute of limitations.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the period of time in which the victim can file a lawsuit. Once this period of time has passed, the victim does not have the right to sue, even if he was obviously injured in the accident. 

California’s Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for car accidents is two years. It is the same as that for other personal injury cases. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, a two-year filing period is set for actions that result in "injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”

The two-year time period starts on the date of the accident, unless the accident resulted in the death of the victim. If the car accident did cause the death of the victim, then the statute of limitations starts on the date of the victim’s death.

However, under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338, the statute of limitations is three years if you only want to recover for the damage to your vehicle.

Consulting an Attorney

If you are considering filing a lawsuit for your car accident, you should be mindful of the statute of limitations in your area. If you do not act in a timely matter, not only will evidence be lost, your right to file suit will be gone. If you are uncertain about the laws applying to your case, you should contact a California personal injury lawyer for assistance.