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Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workplace Injury Lawsuit

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The statute of limitations refers to the deadline within which you need to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for your damages. This deadline is set by the California law and failing to file a suit during this period will render your lawsuit ineligible. Therefore, you should hire an experienced California injury lawyer to file a workplace injury lawsuit within the set time limit. An expert personal injury lawyer will help you to collect all the relevant pieces of evidence, prepare the required paperwork, and file the lawsuit in court in time. Having a reliable lawyer on your side also ensures that you can get maximum compensation for the losses that you suffered due to a workplace injury.

The statute of limitations for workplace injury lawsuits can depend on a variety of factors. Below are a few things that you should be aware of about the statute of limitations before you file a workplace injury lawsuit in a California court.

Factors That Affect the Statute of Limitations

Each state in the US will have its own statute of limitations for workplace injury lawsuits. In some states, the deadline can be just one year from the date of the incident, while it can go up to six years in others. Therefore, you will need to consult with your lawyer to find out about the time limit to file a workplace injury lawsuit in California.

In general, if a minor is injured at the workplace, the statute of limitations will start only when he/she turns 18. Therefore, the time limit to file a lawsuit for a 16-year-old individual will be 2 years plus the specified deadline under the statute of limitations of the state. 

The type of your claim can also affect how much time you will get to file a lawsuit. For instance, if your lawsuit falls under personal injury claims, then you may have a different deadline to file the lawsuit than what the statute of limitations prescribes for workers’ compensation claims.

Usually, workers’ compensation claims are managed by a state agency that is approved by the state lawmakers. Therefore, you will need to determine whether you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation lawsuit or will have to file a personal injury lawsuit before proceeding with the case. Here too, an experienced lawyer can help you to find out which course of action will be best suited to get maximum compensation for your damages.

Note that workers’ compensation lawsuits may further have different statutes of limitations based on the type of injury. Besides, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit if you are eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. This is mainly applicable when your employer is not covered by workers’ compensation insurance or if a third party, like an individual vendor, has caused the workplace injury.

If you are filing a lawsuit under the California workers’ compensation law, you will need to notify your employer about your workplace injury or illness as well. The time limit to notify the employer is usually 30 days from the date of the incident, but that may vary sometimes. Regardless, you will need to hire a California injury lawyer as soon as possible to proceed with your case.

The discovery of the injury can also have a great effect on the time limit to file a workplace injury lawsuit. Normally, the statute of limitations in California for workplace injury claims starts when the victim realizes that they are injured. This rule is not concrete, so the deadline will depend upon when you should have reasonably known about your workplace injury or illness.

For instance, if you were injured in a scaffolding accident, then the statute of limitations will generally start on the date of the incident. Yet if you became sick because of exposure to the dangerous gases or chemicals at the workplace, you may not discover the illness until the symptoms of your illness become apparent. In such cases, the statute of limitations will start when you have begun to notice the effects of your workplace illness.

This may work against the victim at times too. For instance, if you suffered a back injury due to a workplace accident but did not seek treatment for it because you felt that it was manageable, your statute of limitations to file the claim will not be extended because you intentionally kept yourself from seeking treatment for the injury. That is because a reasonable person would have been informed of the long-term impact of the back injury if they sought out proper medical diagnosis and treatment. This is often the case with slip and fall accidents in the workplace.

Remember that there may be many other circumstances that may extend the statute of limitations for filing a workplace injury lawsuit in California. So consult with your lawyer and understand all your options properly to build a strong case and get maximum compensation for your damages.

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