How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit?

Lawsuits are subject to California’s statute of limitations; a set of laws that limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Below are some common deadlines to watch for:

  • You must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident or the date you discovered the injury. If you are filing suit against a government entity for personal injury, you only have six months.
  • Aggrieved ex-employees who have been wrongfully terminated must file their claims within two years of termination. Even though California is an at-will state, employers cannot fire their employees for an illegal reason, such as their ethnicity, age, or gender.
  • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) discrimination claims are a two-step process because claimants have one year to file administrative complaints under the FEHA, and then an additional year to file a lawsuit after they receive a right-to-sue letter.
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Retaliation Claims: Similar to FEHA, a person loses the right to file a lawsuit one year after the CFRA agency sends a right-to-sue letter.
  • Most unpaid wage claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. Under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), the time period is extended to four years for unpaid wage claims under the Unfair Competition Law, while wage statement claims must be brought within one year.