See the Questionnaire on this Page Below the Explanation.

What is a "statute of limitations"?

​​For centuries, English-speaking countries, including the United States, have established firm and sometimes arbitrary deadlines for filing lawsuits, including criminal cases.  This legal deadline is known as the statute of limitations: it "limits" the time that the victim(s) can file a lawsuit even the most meritorious or just cases.

The actual deadlines are established by state legislatures, usually, and thus do vary from state-to-state.  While statutes of limitations can be arbitrary and very harsh in specific cases, they have historically been seen as necessary in order to ensure that cases are brought "promptly" and before evidence, memories, etc., have faded.  Moreover, the law has long felt that potential defendants should, at some point, rest assured that they are no longer at risk of being sued.

Thus, statutes of limitations are seen by American judges and lawyers as a feature, not a bug, of Anglo-American law. They enforce them.

The California Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

The California statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases can be particularly extraordinarily complex and involves considerations that most attorneys never deal with; it is known as a "trap for the unwary".  The medical malpractice statute of limitations is particularly difficult to apply.  The advice of non-specialist attorneys can frequently be based on their more general understanding of statutes of limitation and simply wrong.

In general, victims have only 1 year to sue medical providers; this is only 6 months to sue a public entity (such as a county hospital).  The trigger date for this 1 year (or 6-month) deadline can be very complex to determine and is a frequent source of legal mistakes that can be made by non-malpractice lawyers.  As a general rule, we try to avoid statute of limitations issues -- and protect your case from unnecessary side issues and potential loss.

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 364 does allow victims, under certain circumstances, to extend, on a one-time basis, the statute of limitations for 90 days.  This is commonly known as a "90-day letter", "90-day notice" or "notice of intent to sue".  While victims technically do not need a lawyer to do this, the application of this rule can be very complex and frequently misapplied by laypeople and even non-medical malpractice lawyers; be careful! 

If this notice has been done before you contacted our office, please make sure to let us know!

This questionnaire attempts to ask the questions necessary for us to make our best judgment as to whether your case is time-barred or not. Please try to answer the questions precisely as they are written, even if the question seems unfair or not applicable to your case. At the conclusion of our questionnaire, we do allow for you to provide us with additional information so that we can fully evaluate the question of the deadline with a full understanding of your position.

Legal Stuff We Are Required to Tell You: Your filling out this form does not make the Law Offices of Howard A. Kapp your lawyers or responsible for any deadlines.  Mr. Kapp is only responsible if he tells you that he has accepted your case, supplied you with a retainer contract and you have signed and returned it.

We try to respond to these types of inquiries within 1 or 2 business days.  If you believe that you need faster service, please call Regina at our office at (213) 927-8000 during regular office hours.

We are sorry that this form contains so many questions, but medical malpractice cases tend to be far more involved than other personal injury cases.  So please help us help you!

Please note that we cannot take cases outside of California, except on referral from another lawyer.

3731 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 514, Los Angeles, California  90010   *   (213) 927-8000   *

Litigation Boutique

​Medical Malpractice Deadline (Statute of Limitations) Questionnaire