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Statute of Limitations: Time Limits to Start a Lawsuit Category: Courts and Procedure


Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. In general, once the statute of limitations on a case “runs out,” the legal claim is no longer valid. The length of time depends on what type of case it is. There are a few circumstances when you may have longer (for instance, during COVID, the time was suspended while courts were closed) or when the time starts running later than usual (delayed discovery of the event or its effects). Generally, though, when the statute of limitations runs out, you completely lose your right to sue.

Civil Rights: Section 1983

Title 42, Section 1983, of the United States Code is a procedural vehicle by which one whose federal statutory or constitutional rights have been violated can bring an action against state “actors” who commit these violations “under color of law.” The statute was rarely used until 1961, when the Supreme...

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Statutes of Limitations

Background California law provides specific time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitations. These laws were enacted to ensure that lawsuits are started quickly after an incident, when evidence is more easily accessible and witness memories are more reliable. In general, once the statute of limitations period for a...

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Claims Against the Government

Lee en español: Reclamos Contra el Gobierno California Tort Claims Act Before you may sue a public entity, you must first file a claim meeting the requirements of the California Tort Claims Act (Government Code §§ 810-996.6). This law applies to public entities such as state, county, and local government...

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What is legal malpractice?

Lee en español: ¿Qué es negligencia legal? Attorneys have a duty to their clients use such skill, prudence, and diligence as members of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise (the “standard of care”). Malpractice occurs when the attorney breaches that duty; and the breach causes injury; and the injury...

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