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Slip and fall accidents are common yet unforeseen events that can significantly impact one’s life, leading to injuries, medical bills, and, sometimes, long-term complications. In California, specific time limits govern how long you have to file a lawsuit after experiencing such an incident. Understanding these time frames is necessary for anyone facing the aftermath of a slip and fall.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a legal time frame within which you must initiate court proceedings in a slip and fall case. In California, this period is generally two years from the date of the accident. This law ensures that legal actions are taken while evidence is fresh and memories are clear, as delay can lead to degraded evidence or forgotten details. It serves both the plaintiff and the defendant by providing a clear timeline for legal recourse. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year window, you typically lose the right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Therefore, understanding and adhering to this timeline is essential for protecting your legal rights following a slip and fall incident.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are exceptions to the standard statute of limitations for slip and fall lawsuits in California, which can extend the filing deadline under specific circumstances. One common exception is the discovery rule, which applies when the injured person could not have reasonably discovered the injury or its cause immediately. In such cases, the clock may start ticking from the date the injury was discovered, not the date of the accident. Additionally, if the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations typically does not begin until they reach the age of majority. Similarly, for individuals who are mentally incapacitated, the time limit may be paused until they regain capacity. Finally, if you are bringing an action against a government entity, you only have six months to file your initial claim. 

Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

  • Seek Medical Attention: Immediately after a slip and fall, prioritize your health by seeking medical care to diagnose and document any injuries.
  • Report the Incident: Notify the property owner or manager where the fall occurred, ensuring there is a formal record of the event.
  • Document Everything: Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any conditions that contributed to the fall, such as wet floors or uneven surfaces.
  • Gather Witness Information: If there were any witnesses to your fall, collect their names and contact information for future reference.
  • Track Expenses and Impacts: Document all medical expenses, lost wages, and how the injury affects your daily life and well-being.
  • Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you on your legal rights and the next steps.

Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Attorney

Ardalan & Associates offers personalized legal assistance for slip and fall victims, ensuring your rights are protected while pursuing the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our team for a comprehensive evaluation of your case and helpful professional guidance.

About the Author
P. Christopher Ardalan has been a champion for the people since becoming an attorney in 2000 and establishing Ardalan & Associates, PLC. His practice, rooted in Southern California, emphasizes personal injury law where he, alongside a formidable team, tirelessly advocates for his clients. A Cum Laude graduate of California State University, Northridge, and Loyola Law School where he also graduated Cum Laude and Order of the Coif, Ardalan's early legal acumen earned him the moniker “The kid with the golden tongue.” His accolades include numerous mock trial victories, prestigious memberships, and high-profile awards such as being a Litigator Award® recipient and an inductee into ABOTA and the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. Recognized by both his peers and prestigious legal associations, Ardalan’s relentless pursuit of justice is fueled by a lifelong dedication to learning and a heartfelt commitment to his clients. With a reputation as a seasoned trial lawyer and a compassionate advocate, he finds the greatest fulfillment in making a positive change in his clients’ lives, honoring his role as their voice for justice.