California Civil Statute
of Limitations

A legal battle to claim your rightfully deserved compensation may seem like a low priority when you’ve been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, but, unfortunately, you have no time to spare in these situations.

The state of California has enacted time limits, also known as statutes of limitations, governing how long you can wait to file a civil action. A personal injury lawyer requires sufficient time to prepare your case before your legal claim can be filed.

The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm understand these challenges. We handle all the details of your civil case, relieving your burdens of gathering evidence and dealing with insurance companies. With your case in the capable hands of our compassionate and award-winning attorneys, you can focus on recovery without the risk of missing the statute of limitations.

Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 provides a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the offense for most personal injuries and injuries leading to death. This includes injuries that are the result of neglect or any wrongful act as well as assault and battery. In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations generally commences on the date of death.

This applies to the following types of cases:

motor vehicle accidents
Car accidents
Truck accidents
Slips and falls
Oil rig accidents
Defective products

Toxic Exposure

In the case of exposure to a hazardous material or toxic substance, the statute of limitations is two years, and the discovery rule applies. The discovery rule is a term that describes a statute of limitations that does not begin tolling until the date an injury is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered, rather than on the date the offense occurred. In the case of toxic exposures, the clock starts when one of the following has occurred:

  • Two years from the date of injury or death
  • Two years from the date the injury became known or should reasonably have become known
  • Two years from the date the cause of the injury became or reasonably should have become known

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is a special type of hazardous product exposure because the harm caused by asbestos has been widespread over the course of decades. Many asbestos cases are part of nationwide mass torts.

The Lanier Law Firm is one of the world’s leading asbestos law firms. We determine whether your asbestos case should be filed in California courts or another state as part of the ongoing national litigation. California law provides a one-year statute of limitations after any of the following:

  • Disability begins
  • Discovery that asbestos exposure is the cause of disability
  • The date of death precipitated by exposure
  • The date asbestos exposure is discovered as the cause of death

The statutes of limitations for the nationwide cases vary by jurisdiction and which type of case is selected.

men in hazmat suits removing asbestos

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a health care provider results in personal injury or death. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims resulting in injury or death is three years from the date of injury or death or one year after the malpractice is or should have been discovered.

If a health care professional negligently injures a child under the age of six, the statute of limitations is three years or by the child’s eighth birthday, whichever period of time is longer. Legal actions for infants who sustain birth injuries have a six-year statute of limitations.

Business Law

The statutes of limitations in business litigation vary by the cause of action, as follows:

  • Contract disputes
    • Dispute or breach of written contracts: four years
    • Dispute or breach of oral contracts: two years
  • Fraud and mistakes: three years
  • Unfair trade practices, such as antitrust violations: usually federal, but when California law applies, four years
  • Oil and gas disputes: 180 days
  • Negligence of architects, planners, surveyors, and other construction professionals:
    • Resulting in personal injury or wrongful death: four years
    • Resulting in real or personal property damages: ten years

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