Normally, when it comes to personal injury cases, it is advisable to pursue settlement before a lawsuit is filed. However, if there is no settlement reached and when the statute of limitations is about to run, a complaint should be filed to toll the limitations period. The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two (2) years (CCP § 335.1).
After the limitations period passes, the victim may be barred from filing a lawsuit. In a lot of cases, which have potentially significant claims, the victim may have to take immediate steps to toll applicable limitations periods. To ensure that the case is handled competently and effectively, it is best to work with a lawyer who is an expert in personal injury as soon as possible.