Waiting too long after a car accident to file a lawsuit for damages could end your right to compensation. California has enacted laws, similar to those enacted in other states, to encourage an individual with a serious injury to pursue a claim against a negligent driver without unnecessary delay. The deadline to file a lawsuit is the statute of limitations.
Personal injury lawsuits, including a drunk driving accident, distracted driver accident or other accidents caused by the negligence of another person, must be filed in an Orange County court within two years from the date of the accident. Lawsuits filed after the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations are subject to dismissal by a judge.
Tolling is when the statute of limitations is temporarily suspended. This may happen when the person injured in an auto accident is a minor. The law recognizes that a child cannot be expected to retain an attorney to file a lawsuit, and it would not be fair to hold a child responsible if his or her parents do not pursue a claim for damages.
The law provides that a minor has two years after reaching 18 years of age to file a lawsuit. The tolling of the statute of limitations ends on the child’s 18th birthday.
Computing the statute of limitations in a car accident case might appear to be simply a matter of referring to the statute, but it is not that simple. This post cannot cover all of the issues related to tolling that can make it difficult to compute the time within which a lawsuit must be filed. Your best source of legal advice and information as the victim of a car accident should be an Orange County personal injury attorney.