After a bus accident, you may be looking to file a legal claim against the negligent driver, employer, or bus manufacturer. If so, you must be mindful of when you file your claim, as each state in the U.S. impose a specific time frame to submit a claim according to the statute of limitations. As a victim of a bus accident in California, you must also be mindful of the bus type involved in the collision, since claims concerning government-owned vehicles fall under a different timeline. 

What is the California Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a law that imposes specific deadlines for victims to file lawsuits against an offending individual or agency for damages inflicted upon them. This law changes from state to state and according to the specifics of the incident in question. Further, there are many exceptions to this legislation that may either extend or shift the period, again, depending on the case details. 

In California, the timeline to submit your claim will vary depending on the type of legal action you are taking against the negligent party. For example, if you are only filing a claim against the bus driver or company responsible for the accident, you must do so within six months. On the other hand, lawsuits should be filed within two years of the bus accident date. Any claims brought against government entities must be filed within six months. 

(Note: A claim is the initial step in the litigation process. If a settlement amount cannot be agreed upon within the claims phase, your case may progress to a lawsuit, at which point, you have two years from the incident’s date to file.)

There are circumstances in which the timeline may shift, and the countdown may no longer start on the date of the bus accident. For example, those who were younger than 18 years of age at the time of the crash are not held to a statute of limitations starting on the date of the incident. Instead, the two-year countdown would begin on the date of their 18th birthday. A similar shift in the imposed timeframe also occurs when a wrongful death results from the bus accident. In this case, the two-year countdown would begin on the date of the victim’s death.

Potential Consequences of Expiring the Statute of Limitations

This legislation must be taken very seriously, as there could be severe consequences to allowing it to expire. For one, after your time is up, you significantly increase the likelihood of your case being dismissed. Keep in mind that this law is partially intended to protect people from being wrongfully accused of damages that may be unrelated to a past accident. So, waiting too long to file will inevitably raise doubts concerning the legitimacy of your case. 

Although you can still appeal to the court to allow your lawsuit to proceed, waiting until after the statute’s expiration may equate to you forfeiting your chance at receiving compensation. To avoid such circumstances and strengthen your chances of earning compensatory funds, get in touch with a bus accident lawyer today. They will work with you every step of the way to ensure that the negligent party is brought to justice and that you are fully supported in your recovery.