How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in California?
In California, you have two years to file a slip and fall lawsuit. This two-year time period is known as the statute of limitations. Each state sets its own laws regarding the statute of limitations in personal injury cases. Like many states, the deadline in California applies to all types of personal injury cases, including premises liability lawsuits.
Although two years can seem like plenty of time to file a lawsuit, you should know that it takes time to investigate a case and file the legal paperwork. It’s best to begin the process as quickly as possible. Furthermore, over time, evidence degrades and has a tendency to go missing, and eyewitness memories can become unreliable. The sooner you seek legal guidance, the better off you’ll be. At Ellis Injury Law, our slip and fall attorneys have been representing injured victims in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. We believe that injured victims shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes, and we’re wholly committed to helping our clients pursue justice.
Understanding the slip and fall statute of limitations
The two-year clock on slip and fall cases begins ticking on the date of the accident. Note, however, that there may be certain exceptions. For instance, let’s say a minor was injured in a slip and fall accident. Because the victim was under the age of 18, the victim will have two years from the date that they turned 18 to file the lawsuit.
However, the victim’s parent or legal guardian may elect to file a lawsuit on their behalf sooner than this. This can help the parent cover the child’s medical expenses stemming from the accident. If a qualifying adult filed a lawsuit on the child’s behalf, then the victim cannot file an additional lawsuit on his or her own behalf after turning 18.
Other exceptions to the statute of limitations in California
It’s possible to sustain property damage in a slip and fall incident. For instance, perhaps you slipped and fell on an expensive watch, breaking it. Or perhaps you dropped your laptop during the accident and the laptop was damaged. California law will grant you some extra time to file a lawsuit for property claims. In these cases, the statute of limitations is three years. However, if you also become injured in the same accident, you should file a lawsuit within two years.
Another issue to consider is where the slip and fall accident took place. In some cases, victims fall on government property. These claims against government entities are handled significantly differently, and so different statutes of limitations apply. You have no more than six months to file a claim with the Office of Administrative Law. Then, the government has 45 days to respond. If this office rejects your claim, you can then have your Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. After a rejected claim, you’ll only have six months to file a lawsuit.
There are other, less common situations that legally warrant an exception to the two-year deadline. The Code of Civil Procedure allows for exceptions if the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated, which prevents them from filing a lawsuit before the deadline. Similarly, if the victim’s injuries from the slip and fall accident do not become apparent until after the statute of limitations expires, then the victim has not automatically forfeited their right to file a lawsuit.
Consult a personal injury law firm in Southern California
A serious injury warrants serious legal representation. In Southern California, victims can turn to the experienced legal team at Ellis Injury Law. We’ve secured more than $350 million in compensation on behalf of our injured clients—a figure that reflects our skill as negotiators and aggressive litigators. With more than 25 years of experience, our personal injury team can apply smart strategies to even the most complicated of slip and fall cases. Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer today.