Statue of Limitations

If you have been injured or damaged economically, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.  Unless claims for personal injury are filed before the applicable statute of limitations runs, they may be barred forever.  Depending on what happened, you may also have several different claims, each subject to different statute of limitations.

What if I Didn’t Know I Had A Claim?

The clock does not begin to tick on your claim until you know or should have known that you suffered an injury because of the fault of another.  This means that the statue of limitations period will not begin to run until you have some facts sufficient to put a reasonable person on notice that injury was caused by the wrongdoing of another.

ImageIn most cases, the statute of limitations will begin to run immediately.  For example, when there is an auto collision or economic loss, the injuries and the fault are usually immediately apparent.  However, in toxic tort or defective drug cases, victims may not know for years that they have been injured by the other party.

In all cases, you should consult an attorney to determine your rights.

Government Defendants

When the party who has caused injury is a government entity, such as a City, County, Public School or State Agency, special rules apply to complicate matters; and you may need to act even sooner.

For example, the California Tort Claims Act requires victims of government wrongdoing to file a claim with the government entity that caused the injuries before filing a lawsuit in court.  The idea is that government agencies should be afforded an opportunity to assess your case before having to defend themselves in court.

It is important to note that in many circumstances both private and government entities may be liable at the same time.  Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of the relevant limitations periods for all potential defendants is critical.