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Small claims court in California statute of limitation.

Simi Valley, CA |

What is the statute of limitation for small claims court in California to file a claim in court. How many years do I have to file a claim?

The dentist didn't remove all the tooth, it broke. I had to go to another dentist pay a fee to remove one small part of the tooth broken tooth left behind.

Attorney Answers 3


You haven't provided enough information about your claim for us to determine what the statute of limitation may be. A personal injury claim has a different statute of limitation than a breach of contract claim.

I'll take a guess, since you've put the practice area as "debt collection" - if someone breached a written contract, the statute is 4 years; If it was an oral contract, the statute is 2 years.

If it is some other type of claim, we'd need more information to answer your question.

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Jeannette Charlotte Christine Darrow

Jeannette Charlotte Christine Darrow


To the asker: Thanks for adding the additional information to your question. Mr. Chen provided a great answer in response.


Attorney Darrow summed it up well. Without knowing the specific cause of action for your claim, it's not possible to provide the applicable statute of limitations. That said, list of statute of limitations provided by Attorney Darrow are correct

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The statute of limitations is the same, regardless of whether you file in small claims court or in the superior court.

In California, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.5, a medical malpractice action for injury or death must be brought within one year from the date the claimant discovered the negligent act, but no more than three years from the date of injury.

Specifically, Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5 provides as follows:

"In an action for injury or death against a health care
provider based upon such person's alleged professional negligence,
the time for the commencement of action shall be three years after
the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or
through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the
injury, whichever occurs first. In no event shall the time for
commencement of legal action exceed three years unless tolled for any
of the following: (1) upon proof of fraud, (2) intentional
concealment, or (3) the presence of a foreign body, which has no
therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, in the person of the
injured person. Actions by a minor shall be commenced within three
years from the date of the alleged wrongful act except that actions
by a minor under the full age of six years shall be commenced within
three years or prior to his eighth birthday whichever provides a
longer period. Such time limitation shall be tolled for minors for
any period during which parent or guardian and defendant's insurer or
health care provider have committed fraud or collusion in the
failure to bring an action on behalf of the injured minor for
professional negligence."

For retained foreign body cases, the statute is tolled until the claimant discovers or should have discovered the injury.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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