What is the Statute of Limitations in California?

“The silent touches of time.”

— Edmund Burke

Ah, the Statute of Limitations.  That’s a fancy way of saying how much time a person has to sue somebody.  It’s an important concept because if you don’t sue within the correct period, you can’t sue at all.

In California, there is not one Statute of Limitations.  There are several.  Here are 2 of the most important:

  • Personal injury lawsuits (ex. car wrecks, slip and falls) must be filed within 2 years from the date of the injury.
  • Property damage lawsuits (ex. laptop was stepped on) must be filed within 3 years from the date the damage occurred.

Certain circumstances can suspend the running of a statute of limitations (e.g. when the defendant is a minor or is insane).  In most circumstances, you have to sue within the correct period or you can’t sue at all.


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