California Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death of a Child

California law, under the Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1,45, also mandates a strict time period (statute of limitations) that parents have in order to initiate a cause of legal action for the child’s wrongful death. Generally, it is two years from the wrongful death date of their child. This means a parent has two years from the date of death to either have his or her child’s wrongful death case settled or have the case filed with the appropriate California Superior Court.

However, there are exceptions to this California law, our San Diego wrongful death attorney adds. Most injury and death claims statutes arise (the time you have to settle your claim or file a law suit) on the date of injury, but for some injury or death claims, they only arise during discovery. For example, if the wrongful death was the result of a medical malpractice claim,46 then the California statute of limitations is a different time period. For a minor child who died as a result of medical malpractice, the minor’s wrongful death claim must commence within three years of the alleged wrongful act (which could be sooner than the actual date of death).47 If you are seeking medical malpractice for the wrongful death of a child against a California county, then the action against the county accrues only when the child’s parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known that a wrongful act (e.g., negligent medical care) caused his or her child’s death.48 Finally, if you are seeking damages from a government agency, then the statute of limitations is even shorter (generally six months from the date of death). This basically means that if you wait too long, you will lose your legal rights as parents to seek legal compensation for the wrongful death of your child.


Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Child Injury/Accident Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Office dedicated to representing families of minor children injured due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one, who is a minor child, has been injured or killed in a child accident in San Diego, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident. Also, you can check out Mr. Blane's book on California child injuries called Justice for the Injured Child available for sale; this book has become a California parent's legal survival guide to their child's California accident case.

Mark Blane
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