STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Stockton car accident lawyer

If you were injured due to conditions outside your control, but in the control of another group or individual, you may believe there should be no time limit on seeking compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, this is a false belief! There is a statute of limitations on almost all cases of personal injury and it is dependent on the way in which those injuries incurred and the individual or organization against whom you intend to file charges, not the extent or nature of your injury.

The clock starts ticking from the moment the injury occurred and could be timing down from just one year. Be sure to understand the nature of your accident and exactly who would be held liable in order to operate on the correct statute of limitations. California law is pretty similar to most states in the various statutes of limitations, but it could be surprising to find out the exact rules. Every case is different and only an experienced Stockton car accident lawyer can help you file a claim on time.

Purpose of Statutes of Limitations

Statutes of limitations may seem very inconvenient and unnecessarily stressful, but they do exist for good reason. They are meant to create a practical timeline for legal action and fairness when filing lawsuits. It is not fair to be in a situation where you may be sued for something that happened decades ago. It is also unlikely that a judge would be able to make a fair judgement when the time of the presentation of evidence is so far removed from the time of the incident in question. It also creates a definitive end time for a legal dispute. If nothing is done within a certain time period, both parties will have to let it be.

Though there are many things to worry about when you incur an injury, it’s very important to think about your legal rights and the next step you want to take. It’s a very good idea to seek legal help from a knowledgeable Stockton car accident lawyer to help you understand your case and do work on your behalf.

General Statutes

As in most situations pertaining to the judicial system, there are many variations and exceptions. Below is a list of some forms of injury and their relevant statute of limitations:

  • Injury to a person: any type of assault, battery, injury, or death caused by the wrongful or negligent act of another person has a statute of limitations of 2 years.
  • Known problems (i.e. patent defects): any type of poor property design, survey, construction, etc. that results in damage or injury has a statute of limitations of 4 years from the last date of construction.
  • Medical malpractice: this has a limitation of 1 year from the date the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the injury and 3 years from the date of injury (whichever is the shorter period).
  • Actions brought against any agency or office of the government: The statute of limitations involving any government entity is much shorter. You must file a special “administrative” claim when taking action against the government to alert the exact office of your intent to sue. This must be done within 6 months from the time of injury. The government then has 45 days to respond. If the government denies your claim, you have 6 months to file in court from the date the denial was mailed out or directly given to you. If the government fails to respond within 45 days, you have 2 years from the date of the incident to file in court.

As you can see, there are complicated and somewhat ambiguous rules about when and how to file a claim, especially when dealing with a government entity. There are also some cases in which exceptions may be made. This is another reason why it is so important to have high quality legal representation – experienced attorneys have deep knowledge of these regulations and can work within the time limits to create a strong case. A Stockton car accident lawyer can help you with any legal ambiguity you are facing.

Tolling Statutes of Limitations

The state of California has a process called “tolling,” in which the statute of limitations for a crime may be paused. Some examples of cases in which a statute of limitations may be tolled include the following:

  • The defendant is a minor
  • The defendant is currently serving time
  • The defendant has been declared insane

The tolling may be lifted after the circumstances have changed. For example, the statute of limitations will start ticking away once a minor turns 18, an individual is released from prison, or the declaration of insanity is lifted. It is very important to communicate with an experienced legal representative to educate you on all these relevant details and jump through the legal hoops on your behalf. It could make the difference in whether you are compensated for your injury.

Speak With A Stockton Car Accident Lawyer To File A Personal Injury Claim On Time

The Friel Law Firm has the resources and experiences to handle personal injury claims in a timely and professional manner. It’s important to file your personal injury claim on time in order to get the compensation you deserve. Speak with a Stockton car accident lawyer today. Call (209) 464-8000 or send us an email for a free consultation.

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ACCIDENTS CAUSED BY HIT & RUN DRIVERS

Stockton Accident Lawyer Helps Victims of Accidents Caused by Hit & Run Drivers

Victims of hit and run accidents are likely to feel angry and confused, and it can make the already difficult process of getting the compensation that you deserve seem impossible. This page will outline some general facts about hit and run accidents and procedures for handling these situations to help ensure yourself the best possible outcome.

It is against the law in all 50 states to leave the scene of an accident without following proper procedure. Generally, a hit & run accident is defined as:

“Leaving the scene of an accident without first stopping to render aid”

Rendering aid can include assisting anyone who is injured during the collision, calling the police or emergency services, or leaving your contact information so as to aid in the investigation of the accident. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident without first rendering aid in any form necessary at the time (it is always necessary to aid in the investigation by providing all of your information to other involved parties and/or the police) they can be charged with hit and run. In California, you can be charged with misdemeanor or felony hit and run. Felony hit and run charges can be brought if the incident resulted in injury or death.

Examples of hit and run accidents include:

  • A car or truck hits your vehicle and speeds off
  • An automobile or motorcycle hits your vehicle and the driver leaves the scene of the accident, abandoning their vehicle and returning sometime later or never at all
  • A driver hits your unattended car and leaves no contact information or way of collecting damages
  • A driver hits a pedestrian or bicyclist and leaves the scene without rendering aid
  • A car, truck or motorcycle collide with someone else’s property and does not leave contact information or a way of collecting damages

What to do following a Hit & Run

The most important thing to do is stay calm and collect all the information / evidence that you possibly can. It is an unfortunate truth, but insurance companies and police may treat you as if you are attempting insurance fraud, as falsely claiming a hit and run accident is a common fraud scheme that plagues the insurance industry.  Having more information increases the chance the police will catch the hit and run driver, and the insurance company will fairly pay out your claim. 

Remember, the insurance companies are not on your side. Contact a Stockton accident lawyer at The Friel Law Firm to make sure your rights are protected.

Proper Steps to Take Following a Hit & Run Accident:

  • Get as much information about the vehicle that struck you: model, make, color, unique identifying marks, and of course, the license plate number
  • Record the exact time, date and location of the accident and immediately write down the narrative documenting your recollection of the incident
  • Find any witnesses to the accident and ask for their names and contact information and relay this information to police
  • File an accident report with the proper jurisdiction and follow up

Taking the steps outlined above will give your attorney the best possible chance of recovering compensation for you following a hit and run collision. Even if you have not properly followed the steps above and have no idea who hit you, there is still hope!

California requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, generally used for accidents caused by another uninsured driver, but also used to cover individuals who have been the victim of a hit and run. This type of coverage generally applies to bodily injury and not property damage, but in California, there is precedent for this coverage to be used for both.

Please give our office a call today for a free consultation with our Stockton accident lawyer – its OK if you didn’t follow the steps and have no idea who hit you, we can help!

In you have been hurt in a car accident, call (209) 464-8000 to speak with a Stockton accident lawyer today.

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REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

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WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

Car Accident Attorney in Stockton

CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN STOCKTON

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might be overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, confusion, stress and pain among so much more. There are certain things you should always keep in mind if you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you’ve been injured and then contact a car accident attorney in Stockton.

Do I have to stop?

Yes. Under California law, you are required to stop whether you collided with another car, a pedestrian, or someone else’s property. If you do not stop, you could be charged with hit and run, even if it wasn’t your fault! Depending on the severity of damages to individuals and property, hit and run charges may result in a fine, jail time, or both.

Do I have to give anyone my information?

Yes. Under California law, you are required to exchange your name, your driver’s license number, the vehicle’s identification number, the name and address of the car’s owner, the name and address of your insurance company, and your insurance policy number or some other evidence of financial responsibility.

What information should I get from the other person?

Be sure to get the same information you gave them as well as as much additional information you can, such as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • License number
  • License expiration date
  • The vehicle’s identification number
  • The name and address of the car’s owner
  • The name and address of their insurance company
  • Their insurance policy number
  • The other car’s make, model, license plate number and expiration date, the vehicle’s identification number
  • The name, contact information, and insurance information of the car’s owner if different from the driver

What other information should I gather at the scene?

  • The names and contact information of any nearby witnesses. Ask them to stay to make a statement to the police. If they must leave, ask them to describe the incident and leave a contact number.
  • If there are witnesses that don’t want to get involved or tell you their names, don’t push them. Just ask if they have any information, especially if it was a hit and run and they saw the other car.
  • The name and badge number of the police officer(s) that arrive on the scene. Ask them when you can get a report.
  • TAKE PICTURES. If you can’t take pictures, draw a diagram of the scene – don’t forget skid marks. Try to be as accurate as possible. Take note of the weather and any other conditions, such as the time of day and how well-lit the area is. A Sacramento car accident lawyer uses evidence like this to prove liability.
  • Precisely record the time, date, and place of the accident. Try to estimate your speed at the time of the incident. The sooner you write down your own report, the more accurate it is likely to be.

What if the property owner can’t be found?

If you collide with an individual’s property and that individual cannot be located, you may leave the scene so long as you leave behind your name, address, an explanation of the accident, and the name and address of the car’s owner if it’s not you. This information must be left in an obvious location so that the property owner will see it and it won’t be lost by some natural cause, such as wind.

You also must inform the local police or highway patrol ASAP. If an officer does not come to the location of the collision, you must go to the police department and file a report yourself. A car accident attorney in Stockton will use this report to help fight your case.

What if someone is injured?

You are required to help an injured person from a collision. First check yourself, then try to help someone else. Stay calm. Breathe deeply – you will probably feel some amount of shock. You may need to call an ambulance or take the individual to the hospital yourself, so long as that person is not severely injured. If an individual is severely hurt do not try to move this person unless moving them will prevent further harm such as vehicle collision or fire, even if this moving worsens their initial injury.

What if I don’t have a phone?

If you cannot place a call for help, try to indicate to passing vehicles that there is a problem. Place flares on the road, so long as there is nothing flammable nearby. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood. Try to flag down a passing car.

What do I say to 911?

Try to get an idea of where you are – can you see street signs? If you’re on the highway, is there a sign for nearby towns, or can you see at what mile marker you are? It’s important to try to be as precise as possible when explaining where you are to the 911 operator as their location systems are not always perfectly accurate. Explain what happened and whether you need an ambulance or a firetruck. Do not hang up until the operator tells you it is okay to. Stay calm and follow the operator’s directions.

CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN STOCKTON

If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you should call an experienced car accident attorney immediately. It is imperative that you seek legal guidance as an attorney will have the industry experts and investigators to build a strong case. A car accident attorney in Stockton at The Friel Law Firm will fight to ensure just compensation is received, call (209) 464-8000 for a free car accident case consultation today!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US