How Long Do You Have to File Suit in Los Angeles?

Home » Car Accidents » How Long Do You Have to File Suit in Los Angeles?

When you’re involved in a car accident, a lot of things go through your mind. You want to make sure everybody’s okay. That is always going to be your first concern. Then your mind starts to wander. How are you going to afford to get your car fixed? Are you going to miss a lot of time from work? It will be one of the scariest things you ever experienced. That’s why it can be so reassuring to talk to an experienced Los Angeles accident lawyer. They can sit down and explain what your options are. They’ll also get started right away on fighting to get you the compensation you and your family deserve.

The problem is, a lot of people wait a long time before admitting they need to talk to an attorney. Maybe they spend a few months going back and forth with the insurance company. Or they may be dealing with long-term medical care and don’t want to focus on anything else. When this happens, you run the risk of missing your deadline to file your lawsuit. At least your Los Angeles accident lawyer will make sure your claim is filed in a timely fashion. They’ll also do whatever they can to make sure you never need to see the inside of a courtroom.

You Never Want to Wait Too Long to Consult a Los Angeles Accident Lawyer

When Los Angeles accident lawyers meet with their clients for the first time, they need to hear your story. They can’t make a fair evaluation of your case unless they have all of the information. All too often, they learn that their clients’ accident took place more than a year ago. This means they have very little time to prepare your case. It leaves even less time for them to negotiate a settlement with the defendant or their insurance company. If they’re lucky, they’ll just enough time to file your lawsuit before the filing deadline expires. Attorneys don’t like to work like this. In order to properly handle your case, they need ample time to do all of the things described above. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to meet with your Los Angeles accident lawyer. 

The California Statute of Limitations is Only Two Years

Every state gives accident victims a certain amount of time to file a civil lawsuit. This law is dictated by the state’s statute of limitations. The California statute of limitations is only two (2) years. The two years starts on the date of your accident. If you’re involved in a car crash on June 1st of 2021, you’ll have until May 31st of 2023 to file suit. If you miss that deadline, you’ll be prevented from ever filing suit for that particular accident. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Your Los Angeles accident lawyer has to prove one of the following things to get your filing deadline extended:

  • You were a minor at the time of your accident
  • You are declared mentally incompetent at some point during the two years
  • The defendant fraudulently evaded being served with your complaint

What Happens if You Wait Until the Last Minute to File

If you do wait until the last minute to meet with a Los Angeles accident lawyer, they may choose to decline your case. If they don’t think there’s enough time to file your lawsuit, they will refer you elsewhere. They have a reputation to uphold. They don’t want to file a lawsuit that will be deemed frivolous. They also don’t want to waste their time. If they don’t think there’s enough time left, they’ll be honest and let you know.

What Happens if You Miss the Filing Deadline in California?

If you do miss your deadline, there’s not much your Los Angeles accident lawyer can do. The judge isn’t going to break the rules for you. In the court’s eyes, the rules are clear, and you have ample time to file suit. If you can’t manage to do that, then you lose your right to recover damages. All the defendant has to do is file a motion to dismiss your complaint. 

Consult with an Experienced Los Angeles Accident Lawyer Right Away

If you get hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you need help. Rather than risk missing the statute of limitations deadline, trust in an experienced accident lawyer in Los Angeles. Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation. This way, you know your case will be handled properly from the start.