In the state of California, the car accident statute of limitations is two years.
A statute of limitations is the state law that dictates the amount of time that people have to file a lawsuit. The deadline in California depends on the type of case you are trying to file. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, there is a two year filing deadline when it comes to car accidents.
The “clock” starts running immediately after the accident in the case of injury. If someone was killed as a result of the accident, the two-year statute kicks in on the date of the person’s death. That person may not have died immediately, but could have passed weeks or months after the accident as a result of their injuries.
If you only want to seek compensation for damages to your car, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim. If you choose to file your claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the court will typically refuse to hear your case and you ultimately have no legal remedy available.
A person who has been involved in a car accident is encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Even if that person believes that they will be compensated adequately by the insurance company, consulting with an attorney is still the right move. An attorney can give a car accident victim advice based upon legal knowledge.