If you were seriously hurt in a large truck crash, it’s wise to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Enlisting help right away will give your legal team the opportunity to gather time-sensitive evidence before it’s altered or destroyed. Examples include dashcam footage, surveillance recordings, driver’s logs, and black box data.
It will also ensure you have plenty of time to proceed to trial should the opposing party refuse to cooperate, offer a fair settlement, or even acknowledge their liability. While most truck accident claims are settled, a small percentage do end up in court. Should yours happen to be one of the few that call for a full-fledged lawsuit, you’ll have to meet strict filing deadlines.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Large Truck Crash?
In the Golden State, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury suits is two years. That means if you were hurt in a truck accident, you likely have 24 months from the date on which the incident occurred to take your case to court.
While this may seem like a considerable amount of time, it will inevitably pass quickly, especially if you sustained catastrophic injuries. It could take a year or more to reach maximum medical improvement, for example, which would leave you with less than a year to attempt to negotiate for a satisfactory settlement and then—if doing so proves unsuccessful—to prepare your case for court.
If you try to file a formal lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the judge will likely dismiss your case. Should this happen, you’ll be left with virtually no recourse because the liable party will have no reason to settle for any sum at all once litigation is no longer a threat.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Large Truck Crash?
If your loved one died from injuries sustained in a truck accident, your family may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. In California, the following parties are entitled to take legal action after a wrongful death:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner;
- The deceased’s surviving children;
- The deceased’s surviving grandchildren, if there are no surviving children;
- Minor children who relied on the deceased for at least half of their financial support (e.g. stepchildren); and
- Individuals who are entitled to the deceased’s property under the laws of intestate succession.
A successful wrongful death claim may yield compensation for funeral and burial expenses; medical bills; lost income; loss of household services; loss of anticipated financial support; and loss of love, community, affection, guidance, and moral support.
In order to recover funds for any of the above, though, you’ll have to build a strong claim and, if negotiations prove futile, proceed to court before the filing deadline has passed. Like personal injury suits, California’s standard statute of limitations for wrongful death suits is two years.
It’s important to note, however, that there is no filing deadline for cases arising out of murder. That means if the trucker intentionally struck your loved one, the two-year statute may not apply.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Suit Against a Government Entity After a Large Truck Crash?
Sometimes, the government is to blame for large truck crashes. If the city planner failed to account for a tractor-trailer’s wide right turns, for example, or the municipality failed to maintain the roadways to a reasonable standard, those who end up getting hurt in the wrecks that result may be able to take action against the government.
If this happens to apply to your situation, it’s essential to act fast because taking on a government entity has much shorter filing deadlines. In most cases, the injured party must file an administrative claim with the appropriate agency within just six months. The government then has 45 days to respond.
If the government sends you a rejection letter, you have six months from the date on which it was mailed or personally delivered to file a formal lawsuit. If you do not receive any word from the agency, you have two years from when the accident occurred to proceed to court.
Are There Scenarios in Which the Statute of Limitations Can Be Tolled?
As with most statutes, there are exceptions to California’s filing deadlines for truck accident suits. For example, the statute may be tolled if the victim was not mentally competent at the time of the wreck or if the liable party filed for bankruptcy, thereby enacting an automatic stay.
Additionally, the clock does not start running for minor victims until they’ve reached their 18th birthday. That means if your son or daughter was hurt in a large truck crash, you could take action at any point during his or her adolescence. If you don’t, he or she could take action at any point between his or her 18th and 20th birthdays.
Call (562) 206-1939 for a Free Consultation with a Long Beach Truck Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you were seriously hurt in a large truck crash—or your loved one was killed—contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. We have recovered numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our valued clients. Let us help you pursue the maximum possible payout, too.
A top-rated trial attorney, Michael D. Waks has the resources, knowledge, and experience to go up against even the largest motor carriers and auto insurers. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Long Beach.
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It never hurts to be prepared for all eventualities, and if you drive often, there’s a chance you’ll be involved in a wreck at some point. By printing our Car Accident Emergency Response .pdf and keeping a copy in each of your vehicles, you’ll always have a handy guide to help you record the scene thoroughly. Download it HERE for free.
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