It is one thing to expect your lawyer to be good at their job, but it is another thing to expect them to fulfill the basic requirements of a lawsuit. One of the first things a lawyer should do in preparation for a lawsuit is to organize the timelines of what happened to determine if the case is beyond the statute of limitations.
When a lawyer does not file a lawsuit in time, there are two main consequences for the client:
- The client loses their right to any form of compensation (barring exceptions).
- The client incurs additional legal costs without the chance of a favorable judgment.
Statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits
California’s statutes of limitations are similar to those of most other states. The start date of the statute of limitations is typically the date that the wrongdoing or damage happened or the time that it was discovered. Here is a list of the current statutes of limitations:
- Written contracts: 4 years
- Oral contracts: 2 years
- Collection of rents: 4 years
- Injury to person: 2 years
- Fraud: 3 years
- Libel and slander: 1 year
- Medical malpractice: 1 year from discovery
- Legal malpractice: 1 year from discovery with a maximum of 4 years.
Holding lawyers accountable
For a client whose lawyer was negligent, it might be unclear whether you can hold your lawyer responsible. If a negligent lawyer caused you more legal damage because they didn’t file your lawsuit in time, you might have a legal malpractice suit against them. If you missed your chance at fair compensation, you deserve to pursue damages. You need an attorney experienced in legal malpractice.