Small Claims Statute of Limitations in California

[This is a transcript is a result of automated audio transcription from the video posted below. For help from The Small Claims Lawyer, visit or call 888-632-6623. Grammatical errors may be present in the transcript below. This transcript is for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.]

Hey everyone this is attorney Brian Russ from Brian Russ law Incorporated, also known as The Small Claims lawyer, I’m a California lawyer helping people with small claims cases among other cases I enjoy working on small claims cases because I find the majority of disputes can be settled under that statutory $10,000 limit for an individual, or the $5,000 limit for an entity so corporation, partnership, etc, etc.

Today’s video is on the California small claims as it applies to the statute of limitations. As you may know statute of limitations is the time period in which a claim may be brought in a court of law against someone for wrongdoing, or so on. Before I get too far into the video today I have a few disclaimers I have to give you the first disclaimer being that this video is not legal advice it’s informational only. It’s not created for any particular person or any particular situation, it’s just created as general information only it is not legal advice, to that extent, I recommend that you retain an attorney to help you with your situation, if you’re if you have a claim you want to bring if you need advice about that claim, I say get an attorney, hired attorney to help you with your situation. Additionally, no attorney client relationship forms by you viewing this video This video does not create an attorney client relationship between yourself and myself again I’m not creating this video for any particular person or any particular situation. And finally, to the extent that this video can be considered an advertisement, it should be considered an advertisement I sell my services, you can see my website up top. The Small Claims You can see my phone number 888-632-6623 Give me a call. I help people throughout the entire state of California with the small claims process be happy to talk to you about your case.

So, these are the key points of this video. The Small Claims statute of limitations key points now the first key point is not gonna be written on the screen so it’s kind of, you know keep keep a note here is that there’s no general statute of limitations for small claims versus you know higher General Court. The Small Claims scheme is really statutorily based, depending on the type of claim you’re bringing so there’s not a special statute of limitations for small claims. Now, the other thing I want to explain is that criminal cases are not brought in small claims, so you can’t, you know, sue somebody for DUI in small claims now you can sue them for the property damage may be arising from their from their DUI or you know, personal injury arising from them. But just as you personally cannot bring a criminal case against somebody, you know, criminal cases are not handled in small claims. So, similarly you know Police Department can’t bring you to small claims for criminal case that’s all handled in criminal court. So the next point is that, you know, the, you know, statute of limitations there’s there’s lots of nuance to them, and there’s what’s called tolling where the statute might, you know be extended for a few days or a month or time period so example, during COVID-19 At the beginning of the pandemic when a lot of the courts shut down. There is some, some special rules put in place about tolling claims where they said hey if you’re going to bring your claim. you know if the statute of limitations ended and you know April 2020 When everything shut down March 2020 You know you’re going to get some extra time until the courts opened up again so there’s your sometimes there’s tolling where they extended a little bit. So the, the dates, I’m going to give you in a minute here, that the timeframes, you know,

if you’re cutting it close, You know if it’s a two year statute of limitations and you’re on, you know, two years minus three days from that point, you know, I would say, you know, talk to an attorney to really make sure you’re in the clear because there are you know nuance to all this but but generally, you know, if you’re well within the statute limitations you have to worry about it. So the first major one, and so I’m going to give you four statute limitations here, and they’re all based on you know what I see most commonly in small claims cases so the first one is, is personal injury, see law personal injury claims and small claims, especially as it relates to car accidents where you know you you got a little injured, maybe your back hurt you into the chiropractor once or twice, or you know you had something minor happen where you don’t feel like you know you want to bring a claim and hire general court but you know you still want some compensation so personal injury to two year statute of limitation from the date of the injury. Again, so there’s the there’s the statutory citation there California Code of Civil Procedure section 335 point one, so two years for personal injury, generally two years from the date of the injury, property damage, is a three year statute limitation a bit longer their Code of Civil Procedure 338 against, you know, three years from the date the property was, was, was, was injured, that the the harm happened to the injury so again like if a car accident happens, and you want to bring a claim for diminution of value, you have a three year statute of limitation, again, you’re getting close to three years, talk to your lawyer, make sure you haven’t the statute limitations hasn’t passed yet, you know, but if it’s your six months out, you’re probably fine. Right, so, again, this is not legal advice I’m just saying. Generally, you’re well within the statute limitations you shouldn’t have much to worry about. The next thing is contracts. So there are two types of contracts to to statute limitations for contracts, generally, there’s oral contracts where a contract is made orally, where you, you go to somebody maybe a garage sale you say hey, I’ll buy that mower from you for 50 bucks. If it works, and they say yeah it works. And then you say okay well here’s the 50 bucks you take the lawnmower home, it doesn’t work. And then you’re going to claim you know breach of contract fraudulent inducement you know breach of warranty so on and so forth, you essentially say, hey, he made a promise to this lawnmower work. So you have a two year period there for that oral contract, and now the other one is a written contract so so that so the law, really you know wants people to write their contracts down and so you get this bonus you get this two year statute limitation bonus for written contracts. So written contract is a four year statute of limitations. So again, let’s take the example of the lawnmower sale, you go to garage sale and the guy says, hey 50 bucks for the lawnmower you say all right let’s put it in writing. You know I agree to pay you $50 For a working lawnmower you both sign it, and you go home and the lawnmower doesn’t work well now you have four years to bring a suit against him, rather than two years for our contract. So, you know those, I think those four are usually you know what I generally see in a small claims case Personal Injury property damage or one of the types of contracts, those are the major ones there statue limitations for everything you can look up online again I recommend reach out to lawyer co find me, I’m at the small claims You can see the link in the profile below him give my office to call 888-632-6623 I hope this video was informational for you. I’m going to have a whole series of videos you can check them out. That’s it for today. All right, thanks, everyone, Brian Russ from Brian Russ law Incorporated, also known as The Small Claims lawyer, I’m a California lawyer helping people with small Claims.

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