Does CA have a statute of limitations on personal injury claims?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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After a motor vehicle accident, you may be focused on immediate injuries and damages. Yet days, weeks, months or even years later you find pain creeping in, such as spinal issues or brain injury issues. A medical examination by a California doctor determines that this was damage from the motor vehicle accident that took longer to manifest over time. You are now facing an injury that could significantly impact your quality of life. But is it too late for you to make a personal injury claim for your trauma?

It depends on the length of time not just since the injury, but since the discovery of the injury. Per the Judicial Branch of California, you have two years to file a personal injury claim for the claim to be considered valid. However, that is assuming the injury was discovered right away. If you were unaware of the injury at first, then you have one year to file a personal injury claim from the time when the injury was discovered.

This means that you can file a personal injury claim even after the standard two-year limitation has passed, as long as you can prove that you were unaware of the injury during that two year period. One notable exception, however, is if you intend to sue the government itself for a personal injury claim. For lawsuits against the government, you have six months from the time of injury to file your claim, at which point the government has 45 days to respond.

This is an educational reference post that should not be used as legal advice.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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Vehicle Accidents

There are two things to establish in any motor vehicle accident case: the cause of the accident (fault) and the full cost of the injuries and losses. As we prepare your case, we will investigate both of these.


& Serious Injuries

People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care.


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Claims related to sports and recreation injuries can be complicated. These cases often include issues involving waivers and the “assumption of risk” defense.


& Spine Injuries

When you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), life changes dramatically. Even mild TBIs can lead to years of recovery and rehabilitation.


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The personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP have more than 100 years of combined experience guiding clients through the legal process.

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