Car accidents are far from uncommon. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 1.3 million people die from car crashes every year around the world, while in the United States alone, the number totals 37,000 annually. And many more people are left injured or disabled: a whopping 2.35 million per year in the U.S.
If you get into a car accident, it’s important to know what to do afterward, especially if you are injured or suffer a permanent disability. These can change your life forever, and may make it harder for you to work, get around or live life as you know it. If you were the victim of a car accident that either wasn’t your fault or was only partially your fault, it’s important you get the compensation you deserve to allow you to live as normally as possible.
One crucial fact that most people miss, however, is that a statute of limitations exists on car accidents in California. That means you only have a certain amount of time to seek compensation before the window expires and you’re left holding the bag.
It’s important to note the statute of limitations for minors is different in California than it is for adults in the state. Generally, minors have until age 20 to file suit. Also, there is a different statute of limitations on government claims. The state and federal deadline is one year and you must file the claim with the proper government agency before filing suit. For these reasons, you should consult with an attorney to determine the proper deadline for your unique situation.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the statute of limitations is 2 years in California, except as indicated above. After that 2-year period passes, you will no longer be able to seek personal injury damages, no matter how bad your situation is. Therefore it’s important to seek treatment, collect the necessary paperwork, and file a claim within that window.
However, you should not take this to mean that it’s necessary to file immediately. Sometimes you don’t know exactly how a car accident will affect you, and it’s best to let your situation play out a little. Otherwise, you may win the personal injury damages you sought, but then discover that you have issues on top of the ones you knew about. When this happens, you may be left with a number of expenses you can’t afford to pay, or that will create a huge hardship on you and your family.
Statute of Limitations for Property Damage
The statute of limitations for property damage, on the other hand, is 3 years, says the DMV for California. When you suffer property damage as a result of a car accident, usually in the form of your vehicle, it’s important to file a claim within this period, otherwise you will be forever barred from bringing your suit to court—no matter how much of a hardship it creates.
Unlike personal injury, it’s usually possible to determine pretty quickly the extent of the damage to your car or other belongings, and to craft a case. In both scenarios, though, avoid waiting until the last possible moment, because filing does take time and you may pass the deadline before you can get your claim filed.
Car accidents are frightening at the time, but perhaps the most frightening thing about them is how permanently they can change your life. If you’ve been in a car accident, have become injured, or are disabled due to a car crash, you need compensation so you can live as normally as possible from here on out. Come talk to the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill where you can get expert help to figure out your next move and get what you deserve.