• What is Statute of Limitations?
  • January 20, 2010 | Author: James Cai
  • Law Firm: Schein & Cai, LLP - San Jose Office
  • Statute of limitations (“SOL”) is a law which sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit, depending on the type of case or claim.

    The periods vary by state. Federal statutes set the limitations for suits filed in federal courts. If the lawsuit or claim is not filed before the statutory deadline, the right to sue or make a claim is forever barred.

    The types of cases and statute of limitations periods are generally categorized: personal injury from negligence or intentional wrongdoing, property damage from negligence or intentional wrongdoing, breach of an oral contract, breach of a written contract, professional malpractice, libel, slander, fraud, trespass, a claim against a governmental entity (usually a short time), and some other variations.

    In some instances a statute of limitations can be extended (“tolled”) based on delay in discovery of the injury or on reasonable reliance on a trusted person (a fiduciary or confidential adviser who has hidden his/her own misuse of someone else’s funds or failure to pay). A minor’s right to bring an action for injuries due to negligence is tolled until the minor turns 18 (except for a claim against a governmental agency).

    There are also statutes of limitations on bringing criminal charges, but homicide generally has no time limitation on prosecution. California has short periods for SOL, with two years for personal injury, most property damage and oral contracts, three years for fraud and four years for written contracts. There are also statutes of limitations on the right to enforce a judgment, ranging from five to 25 years, depending on the state.  A judgment in California is valid for 10 years, subject to one time renewal for another 10 years.

    If you have needs related to SOL, attorneys at Schein & Cai LLP, located in San Jose, CA (center of Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area or South Bay) can gladly help you handle even the toughest cases.