How long do you have to file a claim after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

After sustaining injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, collecting compensation can seem impossible. The insurance company might have lowballed your initial settlement offer. Or, your insurance claim might have been rejected outright.

If negotiating with the insurance company has led nowhere, you may be considering whether to file a legal claim. Before you do, you must understand the time frame in which you can proceed.

Your window for filing a personal injury claim

If you file a legal claim after an auto accident, you must do so within your case’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a law that establishes the maximum amount of time you can bring forth a legal action against another party. For personal injury cases in California, you have two years from the date of your accident to make your claim.

It is possible your injuries were not apparent immediately after your accident. In this case, the statute of limitations starts running once you discover them. After your discovery, you have one year to file your claim.

No matter when your injuries became apparent, the court will likely dismiss your claim if you file it outside the appropriate window.

Your window for filing a product liability claim

Your injuries may have stemmed – in part or in full – from a defect in your vehicle, like a faulty part or system. If they did, you will need to file a claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle – or the manufacturer of the defective part – on the grounds of product liability. California’s statute of limitations for these cases is two years from the date you sustained your injuries.

When making a legal claim after a car accident, it is crucial you do so within the statute of limitations specific to your case. A personal injury attorney can help you make sure you bring your claim forth within the appropriate time frame.