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A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit varies depending on the type of legal claim. Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. Some crimes, such as murder, are considered so terrible that they often have no statute of limitations period.

In general, once the statute of limitations on a case expires or “runs out,” the legal claim is no longer valid. Sometimes the statute of limitations is suspended (“tolled”) for a period of time, and then begins to run again. Tolling may happen when the defendant is a minor, is out of the state or in prison, or is insane. When the reason for the tolling ends (like if the minor turns 18, or the defendant returns to California or gets out of prison, or the defendant is no longer insane), the statute of limitations begins to run again.

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California laws set limitations on the amounts of non-economic damages that are recoverable in certain personal injury cases. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, and any other non-pecuniary injury. The table below illustrates some of those limitations.


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