Every state has its own time limits in which you are able to take legal action to redress a wrong. These time limits are called statutes of limitations, and they vary according to the type of claim you wish to pursue. The law is inflexible,  and these time limits are generally inflexible, meaning if you do not file a lawsuit with the specified time you will be unable to recover for your injuries or damages.  

Below you’ll find California’s statutes of limitations for many common types of lawsuits. You should consult with an attorney to fully evaluate your potential claim, and determine which limitations period applies.

  • Medical malpractice actions: Three years from the date of injury or one year from the date of discovery of the injury, whichever occurs first. (There are exceptions for minors.)
  • Breach of an oral contract: Two years.
  • Breach of a written contract: Four years.
  • Personal injury claims (for example: dog bites, auto collisions, slip and falls, premises liability, motorcycle accident, wrongful death, etc.)  : Two years.
  • Employment Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation:  Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (age, race, sex, disability, national origin, etc.) – Claims must be initially filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the discrimination/harassment/retaliation.  Once the DFEH issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has one year to file a case in court. However, under federal rules, specifically under Title VII, ADEA and ADA, claims in California must be initially filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within three hundred days.  Once the EEOC issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has ninety days to file a case in federal court.
In California, drivers are required to carry liability insurance.  Proposition 213, also known as the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 provides that that those who are in an automobile accident that do not carry automobile liability insurance as required by the California Financial Responsibility Laws are not entitled to recovery of non-economic damages for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages.  The provisions of Proposition 213 are embodied in the Civil Code §§ 3333.3 and 3333.4.

You should always make sure that you have insurance on your vehicles and that any vehicle you drive is insured.

An exception to Proposition 213 occurs when the driver of the “at fault” vehicle was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. Additional exceptions to Proposition 213 include minors, and those individuals making a claim for wrongful death damages.

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance coverage is the most important coverage you can have. In California, it has been estimated that 1 in 4 motorists are driving uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM), that is without adequate liability insurance protection. What this means is that they either have no insurance or not enough to cover any responsibility they have as a negligent driver who injures others. When you suffer personal injuries from an UM/UIM, even when you are not driving, you will be covered for the full extent of your injuries up to your policy maximum. To make sure you are covered, you should purchase uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage in the highest amounts you can reasonably afford.