Like any other personal injury claim, slip and fall claims must be filed before a certain deadline, known as the statute of limitations, has passed. Failing to comply with this requirement could lead to a plaintiff’s case being dismissed by the court, leaving him or her to bear the financial burden of recovering after an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney who is well-versed in California law will be familiar with these procedural rules and can ensure that an injured party’s claim is filed properly and on time, so if you were hurt after slipping and falling on someone else’s property, it is important to speak with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney about your legal options as soon as possible.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a legal deadline by which a plaintiff must bring a cause of action to the court. Plaintiffs who fail to abide by these filing deadlines, whether due to ignorance or mistake, could end up having their claims summarily dismissed. This is true regardless of the strength of a plaintiff’s case, the seriousness of the at-fault party’s negligence, or the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. This is one of the reasons that hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is so important for plaintiffs who would otherwise risk jeopardizing their cases by missing these kinds of important deadlines.
California’s Filing Deadlines for Slip and Fall Claims
Under California law, those who are injured in slip and fall accidents in the state have up to two years from the date of their accident to file a claim against the at-fault party. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, where the statute of limitations could be tolled, or suspended. For example, when a claim involves an allegation of government negligence, plaintiffs must file a claim with the Office of Administrative Law within six months of the accident. California courts are also often willing to suspend the statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall accident claim when:
- An injured party is physically incapacitated and cannot file a claim;
- An injured party is prevented from filing a claim due to mental incapacitation;
- A plaintiff’s injuries did not immediately become apparent, but manifested after the statute of limitations had already expired; or
- A plaintiff is under the age of 18 years old, in which case, that individual would have two years from the date of his or her 18th birthday to file a claim.
There is also a separate statute of limitations for slip and fall victims who sustain property damage as a result of their accident. If, for instance, someone shattered his or her phone after slipping and falling, he or she would have three years to file a claim requesting the repair or replacement of that property.
Dedicated Riverside Personal Injury Lawyers
While it may seem like you have plenty of time to file a claim against the property owner responsible for your own accident, it’s usually best to begin legal proceedings right away. To ensure that your own claim is filed on time, please contact the experienced personal injury legal team at Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP by calling 951-686-4800 today.