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California law imposes deadlines to take legal action.  Such deadlines are called “statute of limitations.”  In other words, under California law, you must fully settle your claim or file a lawsuit within a certain time; and if you don't, you forever lose your right to recover any money or damages.


California Statute of Limitations regarding instituting common legal claims:

Medical  Malpractice : Generally, 1 year from the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury and it's negligence cause, or 3 years from the date of the injury, whichever occurs first.   

Defamation (Libel / Slander): 1 year.

Oral Contract: 2 years 

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death: 2 years.

Product Liability: 2 years.

Property Damage: 3 years.

Fraud: 3 years.

Written Contract: 4 years

BEWARE OF GOVERNMENT ENTITY DEFENDANTS:  If you wish to bring a legal claim against a California local, county or state government entity or its employees, you will be required (with limited exceptions) to file a special pre-lawsuit claim against that entity typically within six months from the date of the incident.   Depending on the type of response from the government entity to your cliam that you receive, you then must file a lawsuit within a prescribed amount of time.

CHILDREN: In many types of claims, a minor child has, depending on the type of claim, a certain amount of time after their eighteenth birthday to file a lawsuit. Notable exceptions to this particular tolling rule include medical malpractice, uninsured motorist claims, and government claims.  

Warning: Statute of limitation laws and their application are complex. While certain factors may extend the general time deadline, other factors may shorten the time.  

Because statute of limitations laws can be extremely complex, you should contact an attorney immediately for a consultation.

Even if you believe that the statute of limitation deadline might have passed, still seek legal consultation to determine if any of the time-lengthening exceptions or rules to the statue of limitations apply to your case.


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