What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice Claims in California

medical malpracticeEvery state has its own set of statutes by which they govern how medical malpractice cases are to be addressed in court. If you have been harmed as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, you might have a viable medical malpractice case. It is important to familiarize yourself with the state laws pertinent to your case.

The Statute of Limitations

California, like all other states, has a statute of limitations, or a deadline by which an individual must file their medical malpractice case. There are often exceptions to these deadlines, which is why having an understanding of which might apply to your case is crucial. You do not want to miss the deadline, or the court will refuse to hear your case.

California’s Combined Deadline

In California, victims of medical malpractice must file within 3 years. The clock begins to run on the date of the injury. The exception to the standard here is known as the “discovery rule,” which recognizes that not all victims are aware of an injury when it occurs. In such cases, these plaintiffs are allowed to file their lawsuit within a year of discovering the injury, or when they should have reasonably discovered the injury.


For medical malpractice lawsuits involving minors under the age of 6, the claim must be filed within 3 years of the date the incident occurred or before the child turns 8, which ever provides a longer period of time.

If a minor child sustained birth injuries before or during the course of birth, a lawsuit must be filed within 6 years after the date of birth.

Additional Exceptions

The statute of limitations may also be extended if the victim was mentally ill or otherwise incapacitated. If the defendant fled the state after committing medical malpractice, the deadline could also be extended.

Shared Liability

A defendant might argue that the plaintiff is partially liable for his or her own injuries. For example, if a patient did not follow a doctor’s instructions, goes to trial and is found to be partially liable, this may either reduce or eliminate the damage award.

California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule, which means that if a plaintiff is partially negligent, the award will be diminished in proportion to his or her fault. Therefore, an award of $100,000 in damages will be reduced to $80,000 if the plaintiff is 20% at fault.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys

At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, we have been in the business of litigating justice on behalf of our clients for nearly 30 years, delivering quality representation to those who seek our help.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact us today at (800) 905-8777 to get started on your case.