Statute of Limitations on Construction Accident Claims in California
If you were involved in a construction zone accident in California, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Before pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it is imperative that you are aware of many of the relevant laws so you can receive damages, such as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have in order to file a lawsuit. This varies by state and the specific type of lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. While this might sound like a long time, this deadline approaches quickly. The sooner you speak with an attorney and get started on your case, the better.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
In most instances, there are no exceptions to the statute of limitations. Typically, if you do not file within the two-year time period, your case will be dismissed. However, there are a few situations in which this statute of limitations may be extended or suspended, known as “tolling.”
One such instance is if one of the victims of the accident was a minor. In this case, the clock begins when the victim turns 18. For example, if the victim was 16 when they were in the construction zone accident, they have four years to file their personal injury lawsuit.
Another situation where the statute of limitations may be extended is if the victim discovers their injuries and it is past the two-year deadline. California has a “delayed discovery rule,” which means that a victim has one year upon the date of discovery to file their lawsuit. They must prove that they could not have reasonably discovered their injury before they did, and that the injury was caused by the negligence of another individual.
The statute of limitations may also be tolled if the defendant is unavailable for a protected reason. The reason could be that the defendant is out of state, in prison, or deemed legally insane. Once the condition has ended, the time limit of two years either begins or resumes.
What Damages Can I Receive?
If you file in a timely manner and your claim is litigated in court, you may be able to recuperate economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses, including loss of income, loss of earning capacity, medical bills, and future treatment. Non-economic damages are intangible losses, typically including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress.
Sometimes, a defendant can also receive punitive damages. In California, punitive damages are only reserved for particularly egregious cases, such as if the plaintiff acted maliciously in their negligence. Punitive damages serve as a punishment to the plaintiff to deter malicious behavior going forward.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
Navigating the judicial system can prove challenging. A qualified attorney can ensure your claim is filed in a timely manner. If you choose to invoke the discovery rule, it could be beneficial to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side to ensure your case is not dismissed. Reach out to an experienced Los Angeles construction accident attorney today for a consultation on your personal injury lawsuit for your construction site accident.