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.

For a free, no obligation case evaluation, contact the law office of Sean M. Patrick, Esq.

The question is often asked:  “I was just in a car accident, do I need a lawyer?”

Not every claim which you are considering against another party requires an attorney. The underlying facts of your particular circumstances will really determine when you need to involve the services of an attorney. For instance, if you are involved in an automobile accident which was not your fault and but did not sustain any injuries, then you may be successful in handling the claim without an attorney.  However, if you were injured, you will be best served by consulting with an personal injury attorney.

After the accident, the first thing to do is obtain as much information as possible regarding the other driver, the vehicle and the circumstances.  If possible get photos that document the damage to each vehicle.  At some point following the collision, insurance adjusters for each driver involved will contact you to obtain information about your claim, including your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and medical records. Remember that the adjusters are there to evaluate whether a claim should be paid.  Although you should be honest, you must remember that any information that you provide especially statements, may complicate the process of settling your claim. Frequently, the insurance adjuster is seeking to prove your fault or diminish the value of your claim. In such instances, your best course of action is to retain an attorney before you speak with anyone regarding the circumstances of the collision. Even when fault is clearly placed on the other driver, adjusters may attempt to “low ball” you with an offer that is not fair for the injuries and damages you have suffered.

Another consideration regarding the decision to involve an attorney relates to the amount or availability of insurance coverage to pay your damages. If the person who has injured you (in a car accident or otherwise) has multiple types of insurance and policies, it is not always easy to discover that information. The person might have insurance with separate companies which the adjuster with whom you are negotiating is not aware.  An attorney will be able to discover this information and help level the playing field.

If you did not get injured, or if you suffer minimal injury or damages, it is frequently not worth getting an attorney involved.   You should not go to an attorney with the hope or thought that he will make your damages higher by helping you get unnecessary medical treatment from “plaintiff friendly” doctors. These types of claims not only cost you more in the long run, but also slow down the judicial system.

This does not mean that you should not get thoroughly checked out by your physician following an accident. If you are unsure whether you are injured you should consult with a medical provider for an evaluation.  Be honest with them and do not downplay or exaggerate your injuries.Sometimes injuries which at first seem minor, develop into serious life altering conditions. Do not assume that just because you are able to leave the site of any accident (automobile or other), that you are medically o.k. Get your own doctor to perform a thorough examination.

Contact the Law office of Sean M. Patrick for a free no obligation consultation for any of your personal injury claims.