Personal injuries can have a tremendous impact on every area of your life. As the result of your injury, you may be attending endless doctors’ appointments or receiving physical therapy, as well as being unable to work, or to perform certain tasks at your job. Your injury may prevent from participating in the hobbies and activities you once enjoyed, and your family could be suffering both from the lost income resulting from your accident, as well as the loss of your companionship and emotional support while you focus on recovery. At a time like this, it is hard not to worry about what the future will hold, and to wonder when, and if, you will ever fully recover.
When filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages stemming from accidental injuries or injuries that occurred as the result of reckless or negligent conduct, there is a specific amount of time the court allows for you and your attorney to file your case. Called ‘statutes of limitations’, these time limits are not meant to rush you, but they do provide a strict legal timetable for getting compensation for your injuries, a timetable which you most definitely need to be aware of.
California Statute of Limitations In Civil Cases
The law requires all types of legal matters be filed with the court in a timely matter. Under Article 1 of the California State Constitution and the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, people who have been accused of committing crimes or engaging in unlawful conduct have a right to a speedy trial. Victims and injured parties benefit as well, as it only makes sense that you would want to file your case while your memory of events is still vivid, and when any witnesses and evidence from the incident are still available.
Under Section 335.1 of the California Civil Code, the statute of limitations in personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury, or two years from the date of discovery of your injury. This date of discovery is significant, because in certain cases, undiscovered injuries may turn up weeks, months, or even years after an accident. Lingering, undiagnosed medical conditions and injuries associated with your accident can have a major impact on your health and well-being, and they are injuries for which you are still entitled by law to compensation.
Taking the Time Needed For Recovery
Many people who are injured feel pressured to settle their cases right away. You likely have mounting medical bills and ongoing medical expenses. Lost wages from the days spent recovering from your injuries may make it hard to pay those bills, or even to provide for your family as you normally would. It takes time to fully understand and calculate the extent of damages suffered in personal injury cases, just as it takes time to heal from the injuries themselves. Insurance companies typically play into the idea of settling quickly, as it generally means a lesser payout on their part. It is important to take the time allowed by the statute of limitations to work with an experienced San Francisco attorney in calculating the actual damages you have suffered. Under California law, damages in personal injury cases may include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Temporary or permanent disability; and
- Punitive damages, meant to punish at fault parties.
California statutes of limitations in personal injury matters allows you time to make the maximum amount of medical progress in recovering from your injuries, while your lawyer determines the maximum amount of compensation you will need to reimburse for your losses and ensure any future expenses related to your injury are provided for.