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California Car Accident Statute of Limitations (2024)

Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and economic damages for residents each year. These incidents happen in many ways, and those involved are often left with many difficult questions regarding liability for their damages. If you believe another driver is responsible for your recent accident, you can seek compensation for the losses they inflicted once you prove they directly caused your damages.

The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a civil claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations in the state for most personal injury claims, including those arising from car accidents. Two years might seem like a substantial amount of time in which to file your case, and this, unfortunately, causes some accident victims to delay seeking legal representation.

The reality is that you have many procedural steps you must complete if you want to succeed with your case, and the sooner you start, the more likely you are to maximize your recovery. Finding a Pasadena, CA, car accident lawyer, you can trust as soon as possible after your accident can dramatically improve your chances of success with all the recovery efforts you pursue.

How to Recover From a Car Accident

Every driver in the state is required to have auto insurance that includes liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage they cause in an accident. Once you have proven fault for your recent car accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. If you only sustained minor losses, this may be enough to fully compensate you. However, you have a limited time in which to file your claim, and there is no guarantee that insurance alone will be enough to fully cover your damages.

Once you have secured as much compensation as you can through auto insurance, you can proceed with filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver. Success with this claim can yield compensation for the damages that their insurance couldn’t cover. In the state, you must file your civil suit within two years of the date your injury occurred; otherwise, you cannot seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

Success with any personal injury claim not only requires meeting the statute of limitations but also gathering the evidence needed to show the full extent of the losses you suffered. You have a very limited time in which to file your claim, and it’s essential to have legal counsel you can trust to have the greatest chance of success with your case. The Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes can provide the guidance and support you need in this challenging situation.

FAQs About California Car Accident Statute of Limitations

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident?

If you intend to file a civil suit in response to the car accident you recently experienced, this case will fall under the purview of personal injury law. In California, there is a two-year statute of limitations on most personal injury claims. This means you must submit your complaint to the court no later than two years from the date your accident occurred; otherwise, you may lose your chance to claim compensation from the defendant.

How Long After an Accident Can You File a Police Report?

California law requires drivers to notify the police of any accident resulting in significant property damage, severe bodily injuries, or death. Drivers have 24 hours to contact the police to report an accident, and the police will create a formal report. However, it is good to contact the police immediately after an accident. If you fail to report an accident as required by state law, it can lead to severe criminal penalties.

Can You File a Personal Injury Suit After Claiming Compensation With an Auto Insurance Claim?

Auto insurance may not fully cover all your claimable damages in the aftermath of a car accident. In this situation, the injured driver can proceed with filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. A successful personal injury claim can help them recover compensation for any damages not covered by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. You have a limited time in which to file an auto insurance claim after an accident, and the statute of limitations for a subsequent personal injury suit is two years from the date the accident occurred.

How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth?

If another driver caused an accident, state law enables you to hold them accountable for the entire scope of damages you suffered because of their actions. These damages may include immediate and future medical bills, the income you are unable to earn after the accident, and any property damage not covered by their insurance. You can also seek compensation for your pain and suffering. The exact value of a personal injury claim can vary based on several factors, and hiring experienced legal counsel offers the greatest chance of maximizing the total compensation you win from your case.

How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Cost?

It’s understandable to be worried about the potential cost of legal fees when you are already struggling with painful injuries and economic losses after an accident. The team at the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes ensures you can have the legal counsel you need when you need it most without making your financial situation worse. We take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee for our clients until we win compensation on their behalf, and their fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered.

Contact The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes have more than 40 years of experience helping clients recover in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. If you were recently injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence or misconduct, you have a limited time in which to seek accountability for your damages. Contact us today and schedule a case review with our team to start working toward the compensation you deserve.

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