How Long After a Car Accident Can I Sue In California?
How long you have to sue for compensation after your car accident is called the statute of limitations. There’s a two-year time limit for suing a private party because of an injury or death in California after a car accident or most other injury-causing incidents. A much shorter six-month time limit applied to all governmental entities, such as a city or county agency. But that’s just the start of the story.
Callaway & Wolf has over 25 years of experience defending the legal rights and interests of those injured in car accidents in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. We’ve filed thousands of lawsuits, and we know what it takes for one to be a success. If you’re injured in a auto crash or a loved one was killed in a vehicle collision, call us at 415-541-0300 for a free case evaluation.
Though you have two years from the accident to file a lawsuit, you should contact our office as soon as possible. If a vehicle is owned or operated by a public entity like a city or county, you have six months to file a claim with them and two years to file a lawsuit in court. There are a few exceptions to this two-year rule, but judges rarely accept them.
Here are three reasons why contacting our office and retaining our services sooner is better than later.
- Your Initial Consultation is Free
Your case evaluation will cost you time, not money. You can tell us about the accident, and we can talk about California law and how it may apply in your case. We can discuss your options and what we think you should do. There’s no obligation, so you’re not required to retain us. If you believe we’re a good fit for you, we think you’ll be a good client for us, and your case needs our help, we can talk about representing you.
- Without Realizing It, You May Hurt Your Case
Without knowing about the law and how insurance claims work, you could do and say things that will hurt your case during these two years. They include:
- Creating posts on social media, saying or doing things that make it appear you’re not as injured as you claim. Insurance companies investigate car accident claims. These investigations often start with social media. If you claim a back injury so severe you can barely function, photos or videos on Facebook of you dancing, swimming, or working on your car will hurt your credibility. You must be truthful and you should avoid social media posts that might in some way reflect on your health
- Communicating with your healthcare professionals incorrectly. Your medical records and the opinions of those who treat you are critical to your claim. If you downplay how bad you’re feeling or minimize your limitations, even during friendly chit-chat, it can end up in the notes of your records. These contradictions can cause problems
- Deciding against reasonable treatment options. You may not like seeing doctors, and you might fear surgery. But if they’re reasonable options to treat your injury and you don’t have sound reasons for turning them down, the insurance company will blame your choice not to be treated for the limitations and pain you suffer. You’re not required to do everything a doctor tells you to do, but you must seriously consider what you’re told before deciding not to take their advice
These are some of the mistakes you may make. We inform and advise our clients about what they should and shouldn’t do to protect their rights.
- We Need Time to Investigate Your Claim
Insurance claims and lawsuits are built with facts. Our clients’ cases are the result of thorough and complete accident investigations into what happened, how, why, and who was involved. They can involve outside experts who review our findings and give us their opinions on who’s responsible for an accident.
The more complex your accident, the more time an investigation may take. Investigating some crashes take more time than others, including those involving:
- Commercial trucks
- Multiple vehicles
- Poorly designed or lit intersections or roadways
- Defective vehicle parts
We also need a complete medical history detailing your injuries and how they affect you. We send our clients to medical experts for their opinions on your limitations and their cause.
These investigations take time so they can be done correctly, without rushing and possibly missing something important. The more time we have for an investigation, the better it may be, the more comprehensive your insurance claim and lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney You Can Trust
Time is important and shouldn’t be wasted. The more time we have to work on your case, the better off you and your family will be.
Callaway & Wolf serves accident victims in the Bay Area and Northern California from our offices in Oakland and San Francisco. If you or a family member are injured in a car accident, call us at 415-541-0300 and ask for a free consultation from our legal team. You can also contact us online for your case evaluation.