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The Statute of Limitations: Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Sheenarude > Health Law  > The Statute of Limitations: Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

The Statute of Limitations: Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Becoming a victim of a car accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. If you’ve suffered injuries or property damage due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a car accident lawsuit.

However, it’s crucial for you to understand the statute of limitations – the time limit within which you must file your lawsuit. So, today, we will delve into the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits, its significance, and why consulting an experienced attorney like Sheena Rude in California is vital for your legal protection. The statute of limitation for property damage is 3 years.

Limitation Statutes: An Overview

The statute of limitations is a legal time limit set by the state during which you must file a lawsuit. In the context of car accident cases, it starts ticking from the date of the accident or from when the injury was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to ensure that cases are resolved while evidence and witnesses’ memories are still fresh.

California’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

In California, the limitation time for personal injury lawsuits, including car incidents, is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you have a two-year window to initiate legal action against the at-fault party. However, there are some important exceptions to be aware of:

Discovery Rule

In cases where the injuries resulting from the car accident are not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may be extended. The clock may start ticking from the date the injuries were discovered or should have been reasonably discovered.

Government Entities

If the car accident involved a government entity, such as a city bus or a government-owned vehicle, there may be different rules and shorter deadlines to file a claim. In such cases, you might have as little as six months to bring your claim.


If a minor was involved in a car accident, the statute of limitations might be tolled until they turn 18. This means that they have two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.

Significance of Filing within the Statute of Limitations

Not filing a car accident lawsuit on time can result in severe consequences. Should you miss the deadline, the court will likely deny your claim, and you will lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Insurance companies and defense attorneys are well aware of the statute of limitations, and if they know the time limit has passed, they may be less inclined to negotiate a fair settlement.

Why Consult with Sheena Rude

Getting through the legal process after a car accident can be complex, especially when dealing with the statute of limitations. Here’s where consulting an experienced car accident attorney like Sheena Rude becomes crucial:

1۔ Timely Filing

Sheena Rude will ensure that your car accident claim is filed within the statute of limitations. They will calculate the exact deadline based on the circumstances of your case, protecting your right to seek compensation.

2۔ Gathering Evidence

An experienced attorney knows the importance of preserving evidence and building a strong case from the start. They will conduct a thorough investigation, gather relevant documents, and interview witnesses to support your claim.

3۔ Negotiations and Settlements

Sheena Rude has the expertise to negotiate insurance claims and defend defense attorneys on your behalf. They will strive to secure a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your injuries and losses.


An understanding of the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is crucial for protecting your legal rights and pursuing fair compensation. In California, the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident, but certain exceptions may apply. To ensure your case is filed within the appropriate time frame and to handle legal complications effectively, consult with Sheena Rude at (818) 658-3700 if you’re in Southern California, and if you’re in Northern California please call us at (408) 676-0410, an experienced car accident attorney in California. She will provide personalized guidance and defend your best interests throughout the legal process.