| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

Many victims need time to process their car accident experience but may quickly begin asking themselves, How long after a car accident can you claim injury in California? This and many other questions may begin to feel overwhelming as you struggle to prioritize your physical recovery while seeking compensation for your losses. 

An attorney can help make this time less frightening and clarify the countless questions you may have about how best to move forward after your accident. Read on to learn more about how long after a car accident you can claim injury and how an attorney can help you in your case. 

What Is the Personal Injury Claim Statute of Limitations? 

The statute of limitations for any case is the period, defined by law, that a person has to file a lawsuit. Failing to file without this statutory period bars them from bringing a claim at a later date. In California, a personal injury claim statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. A victim then has two years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit. While two years seems like plenty of time, it may come and go faster than you anticipate as you recover from your injuries. 

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations 

Certain situations may toll or pause the statute of limitations from running. These exceptions include the following scenarios: 

  • The injured party is a minor. The statute of limitations tolls until the minor reaches the age of 18 and runs for two years from that date. 
  • The claimant has a mental incapacity. The statute of limitations tolls until the minor is deemed to have regained capacity. 
  • An incarcerated defendant. The statute of limitations begins running once the defendant is released from jail or prison. 
  • The defendant is out of state. The status of limitations tolls until the defendant returns to the state since the defendant must receive personal service of a lawsuit. 

If you believe you missed the personal injury claim statute of limitations, speak to an attorney to determine whether an exception applies. 

How Can an Attorney Help Me? 

A personal injury helps an injured victim in numerous ways to move their case through the legal process and get them the results and compensation they need and deserve. 

Gather Evidence

An attorney assists in helping their clients gather relevant evidence to build a strong case on their behalf. Common examples of evidence used in car accident claims include: 

  • Eyewitness statements, 
  • Medical records, 
  • Police accident reports, 
  • Insurance coverage reports, 
  • Loss of earnings and lost wages due to a victim’s injuries, 
  • Photographs and videos of the accident scene, 
  • Testimony from experts, including accident reconstructionists and medical professionals, 
  • The testimony of friends and family describing the impact the accident has had on your life, and 
  • Invoices, bills, and receipts to support an economic damages claim.

A strong case makes it difficult for the liable driver to deflect blame and minimize their responsibility for causing your injuries and losses. 

Prepare Demand Letter 

Your attorney prepares a convincing and direct demand letter to attempt to settle your claim instead of filing a lawsuit. The demand letter details the facts surrounding your accident and the extent of your injuries. It seeks compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered due to the collision and all the available evidence supporting the demand. 


Your attorney calculates the value of your economic damages using medical records, bills, invoices, and other similar documentation. Additionally, through conferences with your doctors, friends, and family, your attorney evaluates your injury’s impact on your daily life and your outlook for the future. These non-economic losses are much harder to quantify but provide you with the financial support you need after suffering severe injuries in a collision. 


Negotiation is a vital part of the car accident claim process. Insurance companies are never eager to pay out any money, and your attorney fights hard to prove your case and get you a fair settlement. Negotiating a case without the need for litigation saves you money and gets you the financial support you need sooner. 


While most personal injury cases settle without ever going to court, there are situations where negotiations fail to progress, and your attorney prepares your case for trial. Litigating a trial case requires extensive experience with local court rules and the ability to convince a judge or jury of the extent of your injuries and losses. 

Contact Us 

At The Law Offices of Ali Yousefi, P.C., we provide the highest caliber legal representation for victims injured in accidents, employment law issues, and family law matters. We help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their situation and pride ourselves on our ability to support our clients at the most challenging point in their lives. We try to keep you informed at every step of the process so you can make the right decisions about your legal needs. We work diligently and expeditiously to handle your case. While respecting your wishes, we aggressively work to advance your interests while maintaining the highest standards of legal, professional, and ethical integrity.

Contact us today and learn how our legal team can help you!

Author Photo

Attorney Ali Yousefi is the founder of Law Offices of Ali Yousefi, P.C., and has distinguished himself as one of the leading lawyers in California. Ali values that his work allows him to make a direct, positive impact on the lives of people who have experienced stressful or traumatic events.

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