top of page
Judge and Gavel
Proven Advocacy since 1983

Get an Award-Winning Trial Attorney on Your Side Today

  • Richard L. Duquette

Deadlines on Filing a Lawsuit

Every state has statutes of limitations and procedural requirements that place deadlines on when you can file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state and depend also upon the nature of the claim.

In California, generally a claim for personal injury or wrongful death must be filed within two years of injury or death. In limited cases, the law requires an individual to file a lawsuitwithin a year after a wrongful act or years thereafter if they did not discover they were injured until years later.

There is one major exception to this rule. If an injury or death is caused by a governmental entity [for example: city, county, CALTRANS, State of California, irrigation district, fire district, etc.] a written claim must be filed with the city or county clerk within six months of the injury or death. Following rejection of the claim you have a limited time thereafter to file a formal legal complaint with the appropriate court.

Consult an Attorney.

Statutes of limitations differ depending upon the nature of the lawsuit or claim.

In cases of breach of an oral contract, California allows two years to file suit and up to four years for breach of written contract. Fraud has a three year statute. In any action against a doctor based on professional negligence, a Complaint must be filed with the appropriate court within three years after the date of injury or within one year after your discovery, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered your injury, whichever occurs first. Other states differ significantly and these rules are different from state to state.

The statutes of limitations which apply to your various causes of action may differ significantly in timing, and in some cases it can be difficult to readily calculate when the statute begins to run.

Whatever the time period which applies to each defendant, however, the effect of the Statute of Limitations is the same in each case: in the event no Administrative Claim or Complaint has been filed on your behalf within the requisite time period, your action will be completely barred.In other words, even though your case may be completely meritorious, if you file one day after the time limit allowed by the Legislature, you lose, forever.


bottom of page