How Long Do I Have to File an Accident Claim in California? 

Being injured as a result of someone else’s negligence leaves you facing plenty of stressors. You need medical treatment, and your associated bills may be mounting while your earnings decrease. While filing an accident claim is the best way to help ensure that you recover to the fullest, time has a way of speeding by, and if you fail to file within the statute of limitations, your opportunity to do so disappears. 

This is one of the many important reasons why you should work closely with an experienced Santa Barbara personal injury attorney. 

The Statute of Limitations in California

Under the statute of limitations in California, you have two years from the date of your injury-causing accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If the at-fault party, however, is a government entity at the city, county, or state level, this timeframe is reduced to six months. While two years may seem like ample time to address the matter of filing an accident claim, this can be deceiving.

The Insurance Company

To begin, you will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company for compensation that covers your full range of damages, including:

  • Property damage to your vehicle (if the accident was a traffic accident)
  • Your medical expenses
  • Your lost wages
  • Your pain and suffering

The damages you experience as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence can be physically, financially, and emotionally overwhelming. While the insurance company is paid to cover your accident claim, it is a for-profit enterprise, and its focus is on keeping its profits high by keeping its settlements as low as possible. 

The Insurance Company’s Approach

The insurance company handling your accident claim is well aware that you have only two years to file a lawsuit, and because the accident claim process can be lengthy and complicated to begin with, this allows them a considerable amount of reach when it comes to influencing the outcome of your claim. Consider the following:

  • The insurance company may make the claims process so artificially complicated and lengthy that two years pass in a flash.
  • The insurance company may spend a good deal of time casting doubt on the severity of your damages – and/or may deny their client’s fault in your claim – either of which can waste a considerable amount of time.  

Whatever the insurance company’s approach is, once that two-mark has passed, it has no more incentive for negotiating fairly. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence as possible is always in the best interest of your case and your recovery.

Reach out to an Experienced Santa Barbara Personal Injury Attorney Today

If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured, time is not on your side, but the dedicated Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh& De Smeth, PLC, are committed to effectively and efficiently applying the full strength of their impressive experience and legal skill in pursuit of your claim’s best possible resolution. For more information about how we can help you, please don’t wait to contact us online or call us at 805-643-5555 today.  

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