“You’re on the clock.”
It is a common statement heard on NFL draft day, as well as at workplaces all over the world. The statement applies to clients of attorneys and the people that rent things ranging from cars to commercial carpet cleaners.
“You’re on the clock” also applies to the statute of limitations.
For filing a dog bite civil lawsuit in California, plaintiffs have two years from the day of the incident to file a civil lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing dog bite lawsuits in California also includes a few other important dates.
If you want to file a dog bite lawsuit, you have a certain amount of time to submit the proper paperwork. Failing to file a civil lawsuit in a timely manner can result in a court clerk dismissing your dog bite claim.
Dog Bite Statute of Limitations in California
In California, dog bite lawsuits fall under the legal category of personal injury claims. This means the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite civil lawsuit is two years after the date of the dog bite incident.
Dog bites fall under the personal injury legal category because California Civil code Section 335.1 considers a dog bite as an act of negligence or a wrongful act committed by a dog owner or handler.
When the Clock Starts Ticking
“You’re on the clock” starts on the day that you suffered a dog bite injury. Far too many plaintiffs in dog bite cases use the date when they received a diagnosis for a dog bite injury. Some plaintiffs use the date when a minor dog bite injury turned into a major medical problem. No matter how minor a dog bite appears, you must use the day you received the dog bite as the starting date for when you are on the two-year statute of limitations clock.
Minors and the Statute of Limitations
One of the exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations rule applies to minors. In cases that involve minors, California law delays the start of the clock running towards a lawsuit filing deadline. If a minor endured a dog bite, the minor has two years after turning 18 to file a civil lawsuit. This means minors that want to file a dog bite lawsuit can wait until their 20th birthday. However, like with any other type of statute of limitations, the sooner you file a civil lawsuit, the sooner you resolve your dog bite claim.
Consequences of Missing the Filing Deadline
Judicial systems apply a statute of limitations for civil and criminal cases to ensure the cases receive prompt attention. Evidence needs to be current, as well as the witness accounts of the events that unfolded at a crime scene or the scene of a civil action. For a dog bite case, two years should be plenty of time to collect evidence and get your lawsuit filed before the clock stops at the two-year mark.
The consequences of failing to meet the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit are much more than a court clerk dismissing your claim. You can expect not to have another chance to seek compensation for your injury or injuries. Filing a dog bite lawsuit is a one-time legal maneuver.
Miss the deadline and kiss your just compensation goodbye.
Timing is Everything
Timing is everything when considering when to file a dog bite lawsuit. Although acting with a sense of urgency is important, you want to make sure you have undergone all the diagnostic tests that are requested by your physician. You also want to make sure to include as many treatments as possible. Waiting as long as one year after the dog bite incident can help you recover the just compensation you deserve.
After one year, your doctor should have a much better idea about your recovery prognosis. Future medical bills play a role in determining monetary damages for a dog bite injury.
Contacting an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
You certainly do not want to wait a year to contact a California personal injury attorney who specializes in handling dog bite cases. A lawyer’s involvement early in your case can prevent the type of mistakes that lead to a dismissed civil lawsuit. Your attorney also ensures you do not reach an unfavorable settlement, as well as not admit liability to the dog owner and/or to the dog owner’s insurance company.