Typically, someone will call me and say to me "How long do I have to sue?" To me, in legalese, we call it the Statute of Limitations. I hate legalese, but we can have that discussion another time!
This list is not complete and you should not rely on it, but I am providing some general guidelines to follow. Your case may be different and you should consult with an attorney about your specific case.
That being said, the statute of limitations is generally two years for bodily injury in California. However, if the responsible person or entity is a government entity, different time frames may apply. Against a state, county or local entity, you generally have six months to file a claim. Against the federal government, it is 2 years to file the claim.
Is that clear as mud? I hope so. Of course, figuring out who the proper defendants are, and what type of entity they are is the trick. That is why you should seek legal counsel quickly so that you can at least understand your rights and what time limits may apply to your case. Just because you think it is an individual, does not mean that they were not working for the government or some other entity at the time of the injury. You should talk to an attorney before too much time passes!