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Personal injury lawyer-Samer HabbasUnder California law, a time restriction, or a statute of limitations, is placed on filing personal injury lawsuits. This ensures that legal actions are initiated when the evidence is still accessible and witness accounts are still vivid.

In general, for a personal injury lawsuit in California, you have a two-year window to initiate legal proceedings. In essence, you should file the lawsuit within two years from the date the injury-causing event took place. Nevertheless, California law does consider certain exceptions to this general rule.

Claims Against Government Entities

If the injuries were caused due to negligence by a government entity, an administrative claim must be filed with the relevant government body before a personal injury claim can be initiated in court. This claim should be submitted within six months from the injury date, though certain exceptions may apply. The government then has 45 days to respond. If the claim is denied, the injured person has six more months to file a lawsuit in court. If the government fails to respond, the injured person has two years from the injury date to file in court.

Domestic Violence Injury Claims

When a lawsuit is filed for injuries arising from domestic violence, the statute of limitations is either:

  • Three years from the date of the last act of violence, or
  • Three years from when the victim discovered or should have discovered that their injury was a result of the domestic violence.

Injury To Minors

When the person injured in the incident is a minor, the time on the statute of limitations doesn’t begin running until the victim becomes an adult or 18 years of age. Consequently, the victim typically has two years from their 18th birthday to file a personal injury case.

Cases Of Child Sexual Abuse

In instances of child sexual abuse, the statute of limitations extends to either:

  • Eight years after the victim’s 18th birthday, or
  • Three years from the date when the victim realizes, or reasonably should have realized, that a psychological issue that surfaced after reaching adulthood was caused by the abuse.

If the lawsuit is filed after more than eight years since the victim’s 18th birthday under the delayed discovery exception, a certificate attesting to the validity of the case must be signed by the victim, their attorney, and a psychological expert.


If a personal injury lawsuit results from a felony act, the victim gets one year from when the criminal verdict is given to file a civil lawsuit, unless the law states otherwise. Some felonies carry a 10-year statute of limitations that don’t commence until the offender’s parole period has ended.
Other situations that might involve an extended time period to sue include when the defendant is unavailable or when one of the parties (e.g., a personal injury victim) lacks mental capacity due to the accident.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve suffered a personal injury in California, don’t face it alone. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates PC are here to fight for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers is ready to stand by your side and navigate the complexities of your lawsuit or insurance claim. Contact us today at (888) 848-5084 or online to schedule a free consultation. Let an Orange County personal injury attorney handle the legal burdens, so you can focus on your recovery. Take the first step towards justice—reach out now!