How Long Do I Have to File an Accident Claim in California?

After a costly doctor’s visit, come to find out, the reason you are having neck pain is due to the accident two months prior. It may be that you will end up needing surgery or physical therapy but all you see is more medical bills that you can’t afford. Now you are rethinking your decision not to hire a personal injury attorney and suddenly you start to feel the time crunch closing in. While it’s always best to speak to a personal injury attorney immediately after an accident, here are your options if you notice symptoms after the fact:


Filing in California

Under the statutes of limitations for the state of California you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit and three years to file a claim for property damage. This time limit applies to lawsuits that are being filed after a car accident and not after filing the insurance claim. However, you will want to file an insurance claim as quickly as possible after the car accident in order to give you enough time to file a lawsuit if negotiations get dragged out.


Your Neck Just Started To Hurt

Sometimes it takes a while for your injuries to become apparent, and it might be a couple of months to even a year before you feel your neck or your back hurt. In this case you have one year from the date the injury was discovered to file a claim with the courts.


Government Involved Car Accident

If your motor vehicle accident included some type of government property, then a different set of rules will apply. Often times the paperwork to file a claim for an accident involving a government vehicle will have to be submitted quicker than 2 or 3 years. You will have to file an administrative claim with the agency within 6 months of the date of the injury. Once you have filed your claim, the government will have 45 days to make a decision and respond. If it is denied after the 45 days, you will have 6 months to file a lawsuit with the courts. However, if no rejection letter was ever received, then you have 2 years to file from the day the accident happened.


Whether you were in a car accident last week or last year, it’s always best to seek the advice of a qualified personal injury lawyer. Robert Meissner is an attorney in the state of California who has been helping accident victims claim the settlement they deserve for over two decades. Give our offices a call at 916.863.2900 for a free consultation!