A statute of limitations is a law which places a time limit on pursuing a legal remedy in relation to wrongful conduct.
It restricts 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.
After the expiration of the statutory period, unless a legal exception applies, the injured person loses his or her right to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages or other relief.
The following is a guide that provides the statute of limitations for specific causes of action when filing a lawsuit:
- Professional malpractice: 1 year from date of discovery to a maximum of four years from the date of the wrongful act
- Wrongful death: 1 year within 2 years (see California Civil Procedure Code Section 335.1)
- Libel, slander, defamation: 1 year
- Personal injury: 2 years (see California Civil Procedure Code Section 340.8)
- Product liability: 2 years (see California Civil Procedure Code Section 335.1)
- Oral contract: 2 years
- Medical malpractice: 3 years (see California Civil Procedure Code Section 340.5)
- Fraud: 3 years (see California Civil Procedure Code Section 338)
- Injury to personal property: 3 years
- Written contract: 4 years
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