California Statute of Limitations

Preliminary Note: Statutes of limitations restrict the time period that a person can file a lawsuit. These statutes not only vary by state, but they also vary by cause of action. The following guide provides limitations periods for each state, but only for particular causes of action; specifically, those related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability claims. The sections discussing special rules for minors only apply to the causes of action listed for that particular state.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury Action: Two-year statute of limitation.

Exact Law

Civ. Proc. 335.1.
Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.

Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice: One-year to three-year statute of limitations.

Exact Law

Civ. Proc. 340.5.
In an action for injury or death against a health care provider based upon such person's alleged professional negligence, the time for the commencement of action shall be three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first. In no event shall the time for commencement of legal action exceed three years unless tolled for any of the following: (1) upon proof of fraud, (2) intentional concealment, or (3) the presence of a foreign body, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, in the person of the injured person. Actions by a minor shall be commenced within three years from the date of the alleged wrongful act except that actions by a minor under the full age of six years shall be commenced within three years or prior to his eighth birthday whichever provides a longer period. Such time limitation shall be tolled for minors for any period during which parent or guardian and defendant's insurer or health care provider have committed fraud or collusion in the failure to bring an action on behalf of the injured minor for professional negligence.

Product Liability

Product Liability: Two-year statute of limitations.

Exact Law

Civ. Proc. 335.1.
Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.

Affirmed in Simpson v. Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, 2014 W.L. 985067 (N.D. Cal. 2014)

Exception: Discovery Rule: postpones accrual of the statute of limitations until a plaintiff discovers, or has reason to discover, a cause of action.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death: Two-year statute of limitations.

Exact Law

Civ. Proc. 335.1.
Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.

Workers' Compensation

Workers' Compensation: One-year statute of limitations.

Workers' Compensation claims must be filed one year form the date of injury or last benefit.

Exact Law

CA Labor Code 5405
The period within which proceedings may be commenced for the collection of the benefits provided by Article 2 (commencing with Section 4600) or Article 3 (commencing with Section 4650), or both, of Chapter 2 of Part 2 is one year from any of the following:

  1. The date of injury.
  2. The expiration of any period covered by payment under Article 3 (commencing with Section 4650) of Chapter 2 of Part 2.
  3. The last date on which any benefits provided for in Article 2 (commencing with Section 4600) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 were furnished.

CA Labor Code 5406
Except as provided in Section 5406.5or 5406.6, the period within which may be commenced proceedings for the collection of the benefits provided by Article 4 (commencing with Section 4700) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 is one year from:

  1. The date of death where death occurs within one year from date of injury;  or
  2. The date of last furnishing of any benefits under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 4550) of Part 2, where death occurs more than one year from the date of injury;  or
  3. The date of death, where death occurs more than one year after the date of injury and compensation benefits have been furnished.

No such proceedings may be commenced more than one year after the date of death, nor more than 240 weeks from the date of injury.

CA Labor Code 5410
Nothing in this chapter shall bar the right of any injured worker to institute proceedings for the collection of compensation within five years after the date of the injury upon the ground that the original injury has caused new and further disability. The jurisdiction of the appeals board in these cases shall be a continuing jurisdiction within this period. This section does not extend the limitation provided in Section 5407.

CA Labor Code 5840
No award of compensation shall be rescinded, altered, or amended after five years from the date of the injury except upon a petition by a party in interest filed within such five years and any counterpetition seeking other relief filed by the adverse party within 30 days of the original petition raising issues in addition to those raised by such original petition.  Provided, however, that after an award has been made finding that there was employment and the time to petition for a rehearing or reconsideration or review has expired or such petition if made has been determined, the appeals board upon a petition to reopen shall not have the power to find that there was no employment.

Other California Laws

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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