In California, you ordinarily have two years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit against a negligent party (the “statute of limitations”). Certain factors can modify that general rule, however, and that’s one reason among several why you should contact an experienced, competent personal injury attorney as soon as you realize you may have an injury case.
One situation where the amount of time you have to make a claim is shortened is when a government or governmental agency is involved.
The rule when a California governmental entity is involved is that you only have six months to present a Notice of Claim to the proper governmental entity or entities.
You might run into this situation if you have been injured on public transit like BART or MUNI or if you have slipped and fallen on a defective city-owned sidewalk. This can be tricky because sometimes it is not immediately clear if an entity is a governmental entity or which entities might be responsible for a certain condition.
There is a huge body of case law in California where inexperienced injury victims and even experienced lawyers failed to make their claims in time and the injury victim’s case was lost. The Courts are quite unforgiving and don’t care if your dog ate your homework. As a result of a mere technicality, you could lose all of your recovery rights.
This is one of many reasons why it is critical not to go it alone and to hire a qualified injury attorney without delay when you have been injured as a result of the negligence of another.
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, the best thing you can do to protect your rights is to contact a qualified injury attorney right away. We’ve seen many cases that would have been good cases if not for delay so don’t let this happen to you. If you have any questions about an injury or a government claim, call us at (415) 578-3510 or email me.