IF I GET INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT OR WRONGFULLY TERMINATED, HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO MAKE A CLAIM?
The time you have to file a lawsuit will vary from state to state depending on statute of limitations. Statute of limitation is the time within which a lawsuit or claim must be filed.
Some common statute of limitations include:
• Personal Injury cases – you have 2 years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit.
• Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (age, race, sex, disability, national origin discrimination, etc.) – Claims must be initially filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within 1 year. Once the DFEH issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has 1 year to file a case in court. Note that even if you miss the 1 year statute of limitations to file a DFEH Complaint, you can still file a claim for wrongful termination of public policy within the 2 year standard tort statute of limitations. Of course, when a potential FEHA claim is pursued as a public policy claim, you can not collect your attorneys’ fees as you could under FEHA.
• Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation under Title VII, ADEA and ADA (age, race, sex, disability, national origin discrimination, etc.) – In California, claims must be initially filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with 300 days. Once the EEOC issues a Right to Sue Notice, the claimant has 90 days to file a case in federal court.
• Unpaid Overtime, Minimum Wage, Meal and Rest Breaks – Claims must be filed with the Labor Commissioner or in court within 3 years of when the wages were earned.
• Breach of Contract – If the contract is written, the lawsuit must be filed within 4 years of when the breach occurred. If the contract is oral or implied-in-fact, it must be filed within 2 years of the breach.
• California Equal Pay Act – Actions for wage discrimination claims (ie- the opposite sex is paid a higher wage based on gender) is within 2 years for most actions, and 3 years if the violation was willful.
• Family Medical Leave Act – Any action must be filed within 2 years after the violation, or within 3 years if the violation was willful.
If you’re debating whether or not to pursue a claim now or later down the road it will generally be to your benefit to file sooner than later as it’s typically easier to collect evidence and prove damages before too much time has passed.
The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment and personal injury cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including car accidents, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.