Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

Statute of Limitations on An Auto Accident

Is there a statute of limitations on an auto accident? If so, if the accident happened in Dec'99 and I am just contacted now in Feb 2001, but have not received any notification prior to this, how does this work? I have had two phone calls from a lawyer, asking questions, and I was not charged or at fault.

The police report states that, my car was hit by driver A, I was driver B, and I was sent into driver C.

It is Driver C, suing, Driver A, and the lawyer was not sure if I, Driver B, was going to be a witness for the plantif, or be part of the defendent. Help?????

Asked on 2/13/01, 5:57 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Ken Koury Kenneth P. Koury, Esq.

Re: Statute of Limitations on An Auto Accident

you need to report this to your insurance company and let them handle it. if needed they will pay for a lawyer to defend you.

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Answered on 3/27/01, 9:41 am

Re: Statute of Limitations on An Auto Accident

The Statute of Limitations is one year. The case was probably filed Dec. 2001. Since they have 60 days to serve if in San Diego, then you were noticed right on schedule. If you have been served by a SUMMONS, then it must be ANSWERED. You must prepare for trial and either have the case dismissed or have a judgment for the defendant. Once you obtain a favorable judgment, then you may have a case for malicious prosecution or abuse of process for the damages incurred due to the baseless suit. Please contact me directly at (169) 222-3504 for assistance.

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Answered on 3/27/01, 9:46 am
John Bisnar Bisnar & Chase, LLP

Re: Statute of Limitations on An Auto Accident

This response is based upon California law.

You don't mention whether you have been named as a defendant in the Complaint filed in the case. It sounds as though you are a potential witness, not a party. It would be helpful in your evaluation of your involvement in the case to find out whether you have been named as a defendant.

The "statute of limitations" is a period of time during which a person can file a lawsuit to pursue a claim for damages. The law holds that a lawsuit is "too late" (would be prejudicial to the defendant) if it is FILED after the applicable limitations date. The two important dates, therefore, in your automobile accident situation, are the date of the accident and the date on which the complaint is filed.

The "usual" statute of limitations in California for a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident seeking damages for personal injury is ONE YEAR from the date of the accident. Several things can delay or "toll" the running of the statute of limitations: the most usual of these things is the plaintiff is a minor. A plaintiff would have one year from his/her 18th birthday to file such a lawsuit. There are a few other instances which might toll the statute.

My suggestion to you is to find out whether you are named as a party to the lawsuit. If you are named as a party, contact your insurance company to let them handle the matter. Don't speak to any of the attorneys until your insurance company attorney advises you. If you are not a party to the lawsuit, then you are on the side of the truth as you know it.

Good Luck!

John Bisnar, Senior Partner, Bisnar & Chase, Personal Injury Attorneys & Counselors at Law,, 800-956-0123, [email protected]

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Answered on 3/28/01, 3:26 pm
Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

Re: Statute of Limitations on An Auto Accident

The statute of limitation is one year from the date of the accident. If you have been served with a summons and complaint, you must immediately contact your insurance company, who must defend you. After being served with a summons and complaint you have 30 days within which to answer, or a default judgment can be entered against you. Additionally, you should not discuss the accident with anyone (especially the attorney representing the plaintiff) other than your insurance company, or its representative.

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Answered on 3/27/01, 2:20 pm

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