Statue of Limitations

The Statue of Limitations is the rule restricting the time period that a person can file a lawsuit. These statutes vary by State, but they can also vary by the cause of action. The following is an overview of limitation periods for California and for certain causes of action. There are also special rules for minors that apply to the causes of action in California.

Injury to a person: 2 years from the date of injury
Oral contracts: 2 years from the date the contract was broken
Written contracts: 4 years from the date the contract was broken

The Statute of Limitations is stopped only if the debtor makes a payment on the account after the expiration of the applicable limitations period.

Wrongful Death:    2 years, in most cases


In most cases, a wrongful death action must be filed within two (2) years of the date of death. In cases where the wrongful death action is based upon exposure to asbestos, however, the action must be filed within one year from the date of death or within one year from the date the plaintiff first knew, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known that exposure to asbestos caused or contributed to the death, which date is later.

Medical Malpractice Actions:    3 years after injury or 1 year after discovery


Actions against healthcare providers must be filed within three (3) years after the date of the injury or one (1) year after the plaintiff discovers, or should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first. The only exception is for medical malpractice claims based on the presence of a foreign object found inside the injured person’s body. In that case, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the person discovers, or should have discovered, the object. These time limitations also apply to minors six (6) years of age and older. In the case of a minor under six (6), the action must be filed within three years of the date of the injury or before the minor’s eight birthday, which ever time period is greater.

Special Rules for Minors


Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, a minor has two (2) years from the date of his or her 18th birthday to file a tort claim. See above for medical malpractice time limits for minors.

Please note: State law information collected from WestLaw electronic database and the California Courts website at California Courts website


 

The materials at this web site have been prepared by our Law Firm for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information provided at this site is subject to change without notice. Although we try to keep our site current and accurate, you should not rely on this information or its applicability without verbal confirmation with an attorney licensed to practice in the State of California.