All states set limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in civil court after you've suffered some type of harm. This kind of law is called a statute of limitations, and there are different deadlines depending on the kind of case you're filing.
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those who could be at fault. Basically, if you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit within this two-year period, the court will likely refuse to hear your case at any time in the future, and your right to compensation will be lost. There are special situations that might extend the deadline or affect when the statute of limitations "clock" starts to run.
The California statute of limitations for personal injury cases can be found at California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.
Claims against a city, county or California state government agency. There is a time limit of six months to file an injury claim against a government entity, and claimants must adhere to a strict set of procedural rules. (California Government Code section 911.2.) Learn more about injury claims against a government entity.