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When a lawyer causes a statute of limitations to be missed

There are a great many deadlines in legal matters. One of the very important deadlines that can be present when it comes to legal cases are statutes of limitations. Generally, the state's civil statutes of limitations put time limits on how long after an incident occurs or a wrong is detected a person can file a civil lawsuit over the wrong/incident.

What the specific time limit for filing a lawsuit is depends on the type of case. Here are some examples of some of the time limits here in California:

  • The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years.
  • The statute of limitations for cases involving injury to personal property is three years.
  • The statute of limitations for cases related to a contract is two years if the contract is an oral contract and four years if it is a written contract.
  • The statute of limitations for civil fraud cases is three years.

If a statute of limitations for a given matter has passed, a person may be barred from bringing a lawsuit in relation to the matter.

When a person brings in an attorney to help them with a case, it is vital for the attorney to make sure to not negligently miss any deadlines. When an error by an attorney leads to a deadline being missed, it can cause significant harm to the client. This is especially the case when it comes to statutes of limitations, as an attorney negligently missing this deadline could cause a client to lose access to important legal remedies.

If a person has suffered harm due to an attorney they hired committing negligence that caused a statute of limitations or some other important deadline to be missed, they may be able to bring a legal malpractice case against the attorney. Legal malpractice attorneys can assist individuals who have experienced lawyer negligence determine if they can pursue a professional malpractice claim.

Source: FindLaw, "California Civil Statute of Limitations Laws," Accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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