One of the first questions an attorney should ask, if she doesn’t already know it, “When did the accident occur?” The reason: the time for filing a claim is not unlimited. The limits are known in legal speak as “statutes of limitations”. The law provides a cut-off date for when a claim can be filed. The date will vary based upon many factors including the type of claim (personal injury, sexual molestation, medical malpractice) and the place the injury occurred. 

Generally, in California, the following limits apply:

– personal injury against a town or governmental agency – 6 months

– medical malpractice – 3 years

– personal injury or wrongful death – 2 years

– personal injury or wrongful death related to defect in construction – 4 years

For that reason it is important not to delay talking to an attorney about your potential claim.

After recently completing a six week trial, I had lunch with several friends. Anxious to hear the results, my girlfriend asked “What happened?” I proudly replied, “Plaintiffs’ verdict for almost $15M.” She responded, “What does that mean?” 

“We won!”

Then another friend chimed in, “Why can’t you just say that?”

I explained that our brain injured client brought the case as the “plaintiff” and the decision the jury reached in his favor was the “verdict”. (My husband thinks my friends don’t watch enough T.V.)

Although as attorneys we are constantly reminded to use plain English, the sad truth is – we don’t. Some would think we get paid by the syllable. But commentators often remark that trial attorneys must retrain themselves to speak simply and concisely. As I blog, I’ll do my best to cut through the legal jargon and discuss legal issues and topics in a straightforward way.