In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury – i.e. the limit on how long someone can wait to file a lawsuit before it is too late – is generally two years (California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1). However, that time period can be much shorter or longer depending on the circumstances. For example, if the injury was caused by a government employee or occurred at a location owned or maintained by a government entity, then most claims must be submitted within six months before filing any lawsuit. If the victim of an accident was a minor, the statute of limitations may be tolled – essentially paused – until they turn 18.
Even though you may have a great deal of time to file a lawsuit, a successful personal injury claim will usually require taking immediate steps to get appropriate treatment and preserve evidence immediately after the accident. However, each circumstance is unique and it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to better understand how important deadlines can affect your rights.