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4 Conditions of Negligence
California Statute of Limitations Explained

In most cases, the statute of limitations in California for a negligence claim is 2 years. However, there may be extenuating circumstances that cause certain cases to have a longer or shorter statute.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations, or SOL, is a law that determines the amount of time that parties involved in a legal dispute have to initiate proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. The amount of time the SOL allows may vary greatly based on the jurisdiction and the nature of the offense.

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What is Negligence?

Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise appropriate and/or ethical care expected to be used in certain circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act due to carelessness, potentially with extenuating circumstances.

What is the Negligence Statute in California?

California laws define ordinary negligence as the failure to use reasonable care in preventing harm to oneself or to others. A person is guilty of negligence if they do something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation.

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What are the 4 Conditions of Negligence?

The 4 elements of negligence include:

  • Duty - The defendant owed a legal obligation to the plaintiff under the circumstances.
  • Breach of duty - A plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached his or her duty to behave responsibly or professionally. The plaintiff does this by articulating the defendant's duty and then showing how the defendant deviated from said duty.
  • Damages - The plaintiff must prove that there were injuries or damages which arose from the breach of duty by the defendant.
  • Causation - You are required to prove that the defendant's actions materially contribute to the events that led to your injury. This requires that you prove they were the direct cause (factual cause) and proximate cause of your injuries.

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Can You Sue for Negligence After the Statute of Limitations has Expired?

In most cases, if a statute of limitations has expired, you will have forfeited your right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, there are certain cases where an SOL can be "tolled," or temporarily suspended, or stopped. Five situations in which a statute of limitations may be tolled include:

  • The plaintiff is under the age of 18
  • The plaintiff is out of state
  • The plaintiff is serving a prison sentence
  • The plaintiff is legally insane

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