Statutes of Limitations (Limitations of actions)

In California (as in most states) civil actions are subject to a statute of limitations (sometimes known as a limitation of action).  Limitations of action are prescribed in the California Civil Code.

For example, the statute of limitations for a written contract is four years, an oral contract is two years.  After that time, an action can no longer be brought to enforce the contract.  The statute of limitations for a contract action begins to run from the time of the breach.

Under some circumstances, the statute of limitations can be tolled, or stopped.  The most common situations when a statute of limitations will be tolled are in the case of a minor (someone under the age of 18) or someone who is incompetent.

For example, when a person is under 18 years of age, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until they reach the age of majority (18).  In the case of a written contract, a person who enters into a written contract while a minor, would have 4 years from the age of majority to sue if there was a breach prior to him or her reaching 18 years of age.


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