Car Accident Claim Time Limits

If you have been involved in a car accident it is important to know the time limits to file lawsuits stemming from the accident. Once this date has passed, you will be unable to sue the other party for personal injury, physical damage, emotional distress or property damage. On the other hand, if this period passes without a civil suit being filed against you over the accident, you can be certain that it has finally been left behind you.

The car accident attorneys in the Law Offices of Norman G Fernandez are experts in determining when and how to begin suing for damages and injuries caused by car accidents. We are ready to jump in to assist you at any stage of the process and recommend that you call us as soon as possible, even from the scene of the accident where we can talk you through your legal obligations and the information that you should gather there.

What is the time limit for personal injury claims for car accidents in California?

Civil lawsuits relating to personal injuries that occur in California, including car accidents, must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. After this date, parties who suffered damage lose their right to sue.

However, if the accident involves county vans or vehicles, or any other governmental entity, the time limit for beginning a claim against them is reduced to six months from the date of the accident. You must file your claim with that entity during that time, and if they reject it the clock will begin again giving you six months from the date of the rejection to file a lawsuit.

When should you sue for a car accident in Irvine, Long Beach and Huntington Beach?

As a general rule, you should start your lawsuit as soon as you can following a car accident. The reasons that the time limit exists is because evidence gets harder to trust over time – for example, witnesses may not remember as clearly. For the same reason, it makes sense to file personal injury lawsuits as soon as you have gathered all the evidence that you need. Usually this will occur soon after the accident, leaving plenty of time to negotiate with the other party if the case warrants it.

There are some limited circumstances where it makes sense to wait and to file close to the end of the time limit for claims. If you are still receiving medical treatment, the full amount of your claim has not yet been determined and you should wait to file once the damages are fully known (in legal terms, until the damages ‘ripen’). It is vital that you consult with a competent and experienced attorney as they will be able to advise you about when and how to sue in order to maximize the damages that you can claim and you chance at reclaiming them.

The law Offices of Norman G Fernandez serves clients in Irvine, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and surrounding areas.

If you have been involved in a car accident, whether or not you are at fault and whether or not you have been injured, our specialized car accident lawyers and investigators are ready to advise you. Call us at any time and if we can help we will come to you to discuss your options anywhere in California.

Our law firm has many years of experience in resolving all kinds of personal injury claims all across California, including cases of:

  • Car Accidents
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Train Accidents
  • No Fault Car Accidents
  • Minor Car Accidents
  • Negligence
  • Physical Injuries
  • Emotional Injuries

Although we usually travel to meet our clients, our offices are based in the following areas:

  • Long Beach
  • Huntington Beach
  • Orange County
  • Los Angeles
  • Irvine

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Law Offices of Norman G. Fernandez


18685 Main Street #101-193 Huntington Beach, CA 92648