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Every civil case filed in California needs to be brought within a specific time period. If a case is brought to court too late, then the plaintiff will not be able to recover damages. It is important to hire an experienced and skilled California personal injury attorney that is well-versed and knowledgeable about the different statute of limitations time periods for different claims.

This article below discusses the different time periods for different claims brought in California courts. Other than these time limitations that need to be met, there are also elements of a claim that need to be proven in any lawsuit in order to seek compensation for injuries. Our attorneys have had decades of experience representing injured clients in California.

Courts in California have a very strict limited time period when they have to bring their claims. California courts rarely extend the statute of limitations time period.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

Statute of limitations is a legal phrase used to describe the time period when someone could file a claim in court. The statute of limitations is one of the most important steps when filing a claim against the at fault party. All civil claims in California are subject to the statute of limitations. The length of the statute depends on the claim being brought into civil court. Usually, California statute of limitations is between 2 and 6 years.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin in California?

In California cases, the statute of limitations always begins on the date of the accident that caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury. However, there are exceptions to when the statute of limitations could begin. Exceptions include:

  • Discovery rule: the discovery rule is used to extend the statute of limitations by asserting that the injured person needs more time to discover the injury. This occurs when there is a period of time between the accident and the injury. The two-year statute of limitations still applies, but the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim discovers the injury, or should have discovered their injury.
  • Tolling: the statute of limitations time period could be tolled. There are specific instances that could pause the time period and allow the plaintiff to bring the claim at any time.
  • If the plaintiff suffered an injury when they were a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin until the minor turns 18 years old.
  • If the plaintiff was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations is put on pause until the victim is deemed to be competent.
  • California’s Covid Amended Emergency Rule: Under rule 9(a), statute of limitations that exceed 180 days are tolled from April 6, 2020 to October 1, 2020. Under Rule 9 (b), statute of limitations that exceed 180 days are tolled from April 6, 2020 until August 3, 2020.

Other circumstances may also affect the statute of limitations. In order to determine if you could bring the claim after the statute of limitations time period has been tolled, contact our attorneys today.

California State of Limitations FAQ

When Can I Bring a Claim if I Have Suffered Injury?

For personal injury cases (such as car accidents, assault, pedestrian accidents, etc.), a plaintiff must bring the claim within two years from the date of the injury.

When Can I File a Claim for Property Damage?

You have three years from the date the property was damaged to file a claim for property damage. This includes instances where the defendant damaged or destroyed your property. (such as crashing your vehicle, driving onto your property, etc.)

When Can I file a Claim for Defamation, Libel, or Slander?

You have one year from the time the statement was made to file a claim against the liable party under California’s defamation laws.

When Can I File a Claim for Trespass?

If someone has trespassed on your property, you have three years from the date of the trespass to file your claim.

When Can I File a Claim for Breach of Contract?

If you believe that there is a written contract that has been breached, meaning that the other party did not follow the conditions of the contract, you have four years from the date of the breach. If the contract was an oral contract, you have two years from the date of the breach.

When Can I File a Claim for Patent Defects?

You have four years from the date the construction was finished to file a claim for patent defects. This is most likely filed against construction workers, architects, contractors, etc.)

When Can I File a Claim Against a Healthcare Provider for Medical Malpractice?

You have one year to file a claim for medical malpractice.

When Can I File a Claim Against a Bank?

You have one year to file a claim against the bank from when they paid out the funds.

When Can I File a Claim Against a Government Agency or Office?

You have six months from the time of the injury to file a claim against the government entity.

When Can I File a Claim Against a Government Entity for Property Damage?

You have one year from the date of the property damage to file a claim against the government entity.

When Can I File a Claim for Trespassing?

You have three years from the date of the trespass to file a claim.

When Can I File a Claim to Collect Rent?

You have four years to file a claim to collect rent.

When Can I File a Claim for Debt Collection?

You have four years to file a claim for collection of debt, but this can vary based on the type of debt being collected on.

When Can I File a Claim for Fraud?

You have three years from the incident of fraud to file a claim.

California court’s deadlines mentioned above are very strict, and California judges will almost never waive any rules.

Consult an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney Today

It is important that you hire an experienced California personal injury attorney that could pursue your claims for you and make sure that your claims are filed properly. If you hire an inexperienced attorney, you could risk losing your entire rights to seeking compensation for your injuries.

Our skill California personal injury attorneys offer free no risk consultations where we will review your claim, and determine when the claim should be brought. If you believe the time period for bringing your claim has passed, contact us for a free consultation to determine if you qualify under any of California’s exceptions to increase the statute of limitations time period.

We believe that no victim should have to pay for their injuries out-of-pocket. They should be compensated by the person who is liable for their injuries.

We have represented clients from various states in California. Some cities we work with include: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Bruno, Mountain View, Irvine, California City, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, San Mateo, Fresno, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Burbank, Santa Barbara, Glendale, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Stockton, Pasadena, Riverside, Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, Modesto, Malibu, Sherman Oaks, San Bernardino, Monterey,  Santa Rosa, Fontana, Fremont, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Ventura, Pomona, Sunnyvale, Newport Beach, Temecula, Santa Maria, Santa Clara, Palm Desert, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Inglewood, Oceanside, Compton, San Luis Obispo, Oxnard, Calabasas, Palmdale, etc.

***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.