Typically, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in California. But, if you were a minor (under 18 years old) when the injury occurred, then you may have a longer period to file a lawsuit. If you are a minor when the car accident occurs, the two year clock does not start to tick until you reach 18. Thus, a minor who gets in a car accident has to file a lawsuit for personal injuries resulting from a car accident on or before his or her 20th birthday. That means if you were 5 years old when the injury occurred, you could have up to 15 years to file a lawsuit!
Beware, this does not apply if the at fault party (the car that hit you, aka the defendant) is a public entity. A public entity may be a city bus, public transit, a city worker in the scope of his employment, etc. For example, we have pursued cases against the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District, a governmental entity, the City of Santa Barbara, another governmental entity, and the County of Santa Barbara, yet another governmental entity. If you have been injured by a governmental entity, you only have six months after the accident to file a proof of claim against the governmental entity.
Code of Civil Procedure Section 352 is the law regarding the statute of limitations regarding minors, see below:
“(a) If a person entitled to bring an action, mentioned in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 335) is, at the time the cause of action accrued either under the age of majority or lacking the legal capacity to make decisions, the time of the disability is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.
(b) This section shall not apply to an action against a public entity or public employee upon a cause of action for which a claim is required to be presented in accordance with Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 900) or Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 910) of Part 3, or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 950) of Part 4, of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code. This subdivision shall not apply to any claim presented to a public entity prior to January 1, 1971.” California Code of Civil Procedure Section 352.
If you have been injured in a car accident, call Morales Law today for a free consultation. (805) 845-5405.