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Why might a statute of limitations be important in my case?

Imagine how devastating the following scenario — which plays out with some regularity — can be for a would-be litigant with a valid legal claim and a strong case for a damage recovery.

And say that litigant is you. You have suffered a personal injury that is closely linked with a third-party’s conduct, whether that be negligent behavior of some sort or perhaps even some callous and wanton bad-faith act or omission.

You bring your case to a California attorney, who tells you that your claim obviously has merit and that there are strong grounds to pursue a damage claim. You are happy to hear that, justifiably relying on your lawyer’s background and professional credentials.

And then one day — summarily and out of the blue — all your reasonable expectations are crushed, for this seemingly inexplicable reason: Your legal counsel simply failed to act in a timely manner by tardily responding to — or perhaps even forgetting about — a legal timing requirement. Shockingly, your case is summarily barred from any further judicial consideration.

Do such things actually happen?

Indeed, they do.

Can an adversely affected individual or family seek recompense by filing a legal action against an attorney who clearly took his or her eye off the ball?

That is indeed possible, through the filing of a legal malpractice claim based upon a missed statute of limitations. Although many things an attorney does or does not do are arguably in the realm of competency, a flatly missed deadline that dooms a legal claim is clearly the result of botched representation.

A party suffering from substandard legal representation can fully discuss the matter and potential remedies with a proven legal malpractice attorney.

Cases can be won or lost on a number of grounds. A missed deadline should never be one of them.