COVID-19 and Statute of Limitations in Civil Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt everyday life in the United States and worldwide. State and federal court systems are not immune to this disturbance. In light of this, courts have issued orders attempting to respond to the emergency. In addition to instituting safety measures to limit person-to-person contact within the judicial system, some courts have further sought to toll the statute of limitations. These emergency measures to toll statutes impact most court proceedings, including those with civil claims

California Court Rules Tolls Statute of Limitations for Civil Claims for 90 Days

On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council approved 11 additional temporary statewide measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two specific rules apply if you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or reckless and are looking to file a claim:

Emergency rule 9. Toll the statutes of limitations for civil causes of action. 

Notwithstanding any other law, the statutes of limitation for civil causes of action are tolled from April 6, 2020, until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.

Emergency rule 10. Extensions of time in which to bring a civil action to trial. (a) Extension of five years in which to bring a civil action to trial. Notwithstanding any other law, including Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310, 23 for all civil actions filed on or before April 6, 2020, the time in which to bring the action to trial is extended by six months for a total time of five years and six months.

What This Means for Accident Victims

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party, you may be entitled to file a claim and seek damages from that party and/or their insurance carrier. Under California laws, in most cases, you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to settle your claim or bring a lawsuit within this statutory period, you will be forever barred to bring a claim or action against the negligent party.

Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many accident victims may not have the capability to contact an attorney to pursue a claim. In the alternative, some courts are closed, preventing attorneys to timely file a suit before the statute of limitations. 

This new emergency order allows accident victims and accident attorneys an additional 90 days until after the Governor declares that the state of the emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic has been lifted.

We Are Here For You!

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, whether during the COVID-19 pandemic or before, the legal team at the Law Offices of Vahdat & Associates is here and ready to fight for your rights. We can answer any questions you have about how the coronavirus may affect your legal matters. 

 For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced accident attorneys, please call us at (888) 523-1698.