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Q: Statue of limitation for personal injury and small claims court ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Statue of limitation for personal injury and small claims court
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: jps0909-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 31 Aug 2006 21:10 PDT
Expires: 30 Sep 2006 21:10 PDT
Question ID: 761283
I owned an apartment in California, which was sold in late 2005. In
late 2003, a person claimed to have tripped & fell on my property.
Medical bills were presented to me. I didn't know if it was a scheme &
tried to settle with her. In May of 2005 she agreed to sign & notarize
a "Release of Personal Injury Claim" in exchange for $3000.

Recently, she's been asking for me to pay for the entire bill again
(over $5000). I had legal consultation that California statue of
limitation had passed. I told her so, but offered to help with some
cash, loan or negotiation with creditors. I wanted another specific
release to not infer guilt by continual contact or assistance. She
refused and threatened to take me to small claims court.

My questions are: 1) Has statue of limitation passed? And 2) If it
has, is she still able to take me to small claims court? Shouldn't
they check the petition and recognize that she no longer has a claim?

Subject: Re: Statue of limitation for personal injury and small claims court
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 03 Sep 2006 15:56 PDT
Dear jps0909-ga; 

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question.
According to THE CONSUMER LAW PAGE, published by Alexander, Hawes &
Audet, LLP, a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases,

?California's two-year statute of limitations in personal injury cases
begin to run upon the date of the injury or when a person discovers an
injury has occurred. Anyone with a valid, enforceable and collectible
claim, who files one day after the two year statute of limitations
period, is facing dismissal of an outlawed claim.?

The article goes on to say that the California Supreme Court has ruled:

?Under California law whenever there is knowledge of an injury, and
facts which would cause a reasonable person to merely suspect
negligence on the part of someone, the statutory clock begins ticking,
even when an informed professional opines to the contrary.?


Only a licensed attorney can advise you how the Statute of Limitations
might apply for certain. In some more complicated cases the Statute of
Limitations does not necessarily begin from the time of the injury
(the date of the occurrence), but the date of the realization of the
cause (the date you are made aware of the injury), that starts the
Statute of Limitations clock ticking. In your case these two dates are
probably quite close together so there is probably not a big issue
with this exception. Even so, you must bear in mind that the
application of the Statute of Limitations to a given case may also be
contested in court. In other words, even though a case may seem
baseless since the viability time period has expired, the plaintiff
still has the right to contest the time period and perhaps even be
granted a greater period due to extenuating circumstances. Since our
disclaimer prohibits us from offering legal advice, I highly recommend
that you consult the California Bar Association or an attorney for an
actual legal consultation on the matter.

?Can? someone take you to small claims court regarding an issue in
which the statute of limitations has expired?

Certainly. There are two issues at work here:

(1) Unfortunately, in this day and age anyone can take anyone else to
court for just about any reason, regardless of how ridiculous or
frivolous the claim may be. A clever attorney may be able to have the
case dismissed on the grounds of an outlawed claim before it goes to
court, but there is also another issue to consider...(read on)

(2) As I mentioned earlier, you must remember that a Statute of
Limitations can be may contested in court, and this may very well be
part of the ?injured? party?s  legal strategy. So, based on this issue
alone, the answer is YES, a person can indeed sue you (or attempt to)
even though the Statute of Limitations has expired, IF they can
establish that the limitations in the case is irrelevant, or should,
due to some extenuating circumstances, be extended. Because of this
provision, the case will not likley be "automatically" dismissed
because of the date of occurrance alone.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;

Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


?Richard Alexander is a specialist in personal injury litigation with
30 years in-depth experience. Emphasizing working relationships with
clients has led to an exceptional record of success. He has served as
a member of the Board of Governors of The State Bar of California,
President of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the Board of
Governors of Consumer Attorneys of California. He is a founding member
of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and heads
Alexander, Hawes & Audet, LLP.?




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