Is there a time limitation to file a personal injury claim?

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If you were in a motor vehicle accident in California and you notice that certain symptoms are not going away, you may choose to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. It is important to keep in mind there are statutes of limitation, which means you only have a certain amount of time to file the claim. That is why it is imperative to take note of any symptoms, minor or serious, after an accident so the at-fault party can cover the expenses in a timely manner.

According to California Courts, you must file a lawsuit within a specified amount of time or else the claim is invalid. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of dispute and they typically range from six months to infinity. For a personal injury claim, the law states the plaintiff must file the lawsuit two years after the initial injury. If the plaintiff discovers the injury later on, the time limit for a claim is one year after the discovery.

Some injuries make their appearance right away after the accident, but KTAR News reports there are a number of issues that may take longer to show up. Even if it is a week after the accident, you should document symptoms and get medical attention right away. Some injury symptoms that may take their time showing up include:

  • Shoulder or neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal swelling or pain
  • Upper or lower back pain
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Numbness
  • PTSD

Car insurance should cover these injuries if you report them as soon as you notice them. However, if it is within a year or two you may be able to file a lawsuit if the other driver is the at-fault party.


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.


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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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