In personal injury cases, the two-year statute of limitations tolls after the filing of the suit. However, there is a three-year limit for discretionary dismissal for delay
CCP § 583.420(2)
“The action is not brought to trial within the following times:
(A) Three years after the action is commenced against the defendant unless otherwise prescribed by rule under subparagraph
(B) Two years after the action is commenced against the defendant if the Judicial Council by rule adopted pursuant to Section 583.410 so prescribes for the court because of the condition of the court calendar or for other reasons affecting the conduct of litigation or the administration of justice.”
And, with a few exceptions, a five-year limit for the case to be pursued before its mandatory dismissal for failure to prosecute.
CCP § 583.310
“An action shall be brought to trial within five years after the action is commenced against the defendant.”
The five-year mandatory dismissal period is extended in cases submitted to or remaining in judicial arbitration during the last six months of the five-year period: The time beginning six months before the end of the five-year period and ending on the filing of a request for trial de novo following arbitration is excluded in computing the five-year period.
CCP § 1141.17
(a) Submission of an action to arbitration pursuant to this chapter shall not suspend the running of the time periods specified in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 583.110) of Title 8 of Part 2, except as provided in this section.
(b) If an action is or remains submitted to arbitration pursuant to this chapter more than four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action, then the time beginning on the date four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action and ending on the date on which a request for a de novo trial is filed under Section 1141.20 shall not be included in computing the five-year period specified in Section 583.310.
A lawyer who is an expert in personal injury cases will properly guide and represent his/her client in pursuing a personal injury case, so it is best to work with one.