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Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in California

Have you been injured in one way or another due to someone else’s negligence in California? Whether it is in a vehicle collision, an accident at work, or a slip and fall, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Therefore, one question you should be asking yourself is: How long will it be until I can no longer request compensation?

California, like every other state in the US, places a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. It is a deadline for filing a claim against the driver or entity that caused you harm due to their negligence or recklessness. Missing that deadline means getting the case thrown out by a judge and barring yourself from collecting damages.

In this article, we answer the pressing question: what is California’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases? Also, what damages are you entitled to receive from the at-fault party?

California Personal Injury Claims: Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years starting from the accident date. In other words, you have two years from the day the accident happened to file a compensation claim against the at-fault party. However, what if you did not notice any injury until after those two years were almost over?

If you did not discover your injury right away and only discovered it months after the accident. Then, you have one year from the date you discovered the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Statute of Limitation for Wrongful Death Claims

Furthermore, if the victim of the accident dies, their loved one can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date the deceased passed away. In some cases, it might be weeks or months after the injury or wrongful death occurred.

Does the Statute Change if the At-Fault Party is a Government Entity?

If the at-fault party in the personal injury case is a local government, municipality, county, or city, the statute of limitations is more restrictive. In this case, you have to file a government tort claim within six months after the date of the accident.

What Types of Damages Are You Entitled To?

In a California personal injury case, you are entitled to several economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are quantifiable damages – that is, injuries you can ascribe to a dollar value. On the other hand, non-economic damages are unquantifiable injuries and require the expertise of the right professional to calculate their worth.

Damages can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the injuries the plaintiff sustained. Below are the types of damages you can receive in a California personal injury claim;

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future medical care
  • Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death claims
  • Loss of consortium of one’s spouse
  • Property damage
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Emotional distress and PTSD
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement


“It is very possible to lose track of time as you deal with fear, worry, and confusion following an accident. The last thing you want to think about is a lawsuit, especially if you have lost a loved one,” says Attorney Ryan Vego of Glauber Berenson Vego LLP.

However, you also need to remember that a legal claim can help you refund lost wages and pay mounting medical bills. Filing a compensation claim allows you to protect yourself and your family’s financial future; you do not want to miss that.

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