Preventable accidents should never cause the loss of a loved one, and no family should have to go through it. While nothing will ever make up for a loved one’s loss, wrongful death claims allow qualifying family members to pursue justice, accountability, & financial support.

There is a limited amount of time in which a wrongful death complaint can be brought. California has a two-year limit on filing wrongful death lawsuits, but bereaved families should be aware of exceptions to this rule. Stockton wrongful death attorney has compiled this primer to help you navigate the California statute of limitations on wrongful death cases.

In California, Wrongful Death Cases Expire After Two Years

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful termination claim is two years from the date of the victim’s death. There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a criminal death complaint. This does not mean that the wrongful termination claim must be resolved within that time. The time required to resolve any legal dispute could grow dramatically if litigation is required.

However, the limitation period time constraint of two years means that any suit must be filed before that time. Your family’s chances of obtaining justice and the financial support they need to move forward from a tragic death are enhanced the sooner you initiate the claims procedure. If you or a loved one has been killed in an accident, you should contact a wrongful death attorney in Stockton, California, without delay.

The Survival Action Statute Of Limitations Adds Additional Complicacy To Damage Claims

Survivor action claims are a lawsuit that some bereaved relatives may file after a fatal accident. In the court of law, these matters do not involve a simple choice: It is possible to simultaneously launch a wrongful death suit and a survival action against the same defendant.

A survival activity claim in Cali is intended to cover the harm the decedent experienced between the time of the accident and their death. In contrast, a wrongful termination claim is meant to compensate the decedent’s family for the non-economic and economic damages incurred by the decedent before their end. A survivor action claim might be possible if your beloved one survived critical injuries for several weeks, days, or longer.

Survival actions have a more convoluted statute of limitations. The limitation period in California is the earlier of two years after the accident or six months after the victim’s death.

The Government Entities Wrongful Death Claim Exceptional Rules

The government worker or government agency’s negligence could lead to a deadly accident. Though governments enjoy general sovereign immunity, laws such as the National Tort Claims Act and the California Civil Liability Act make exceptions for specific fatal events.

It’s important to note that the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the government is shorter than in private cases. It means you have limited time to initiate the claims process. For instance, under the Californian Tort Claims Act, the plaintiff must give the appropriate notification to the relevant government body within six months after the incident giving rise to the claim (even in the case of wrongful death).

In Rare Cases, Wrongful Death Statute Deadlines May Be Extended

Most wrongful termination claims in California must be filed within two years after the deceased’s death. However, the deadline may be extended in some exceptional circumstances. The California statute of limitations for wrongful death claims may be developed in the following two cases:

  • Exploration

The California wrongful termination limitation statute may be tolled if you could not reasonably understand the family member’s death, most commonly because they were considered “lost” for a period before they were pronounced dead.

  • Teenage Or Younger Plaintiff

In case of a parent’s death, a minor may be given an extended deadline to file a wrongful death complaint. In California, a juvenile must file a wrongful death claim for two years from the date they turn 18. These situations, however, tend to be somewhat intricate.


Stockton wrongful death attorneys at Law Corp are trustworthy and sympathetic advocates for victims’ loved ones. They are available to answer any questions regarding filing a wrongful termination claim, including those about the statute of limitations. Get in touch now for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. They serve Stockton County and the surrounding Central California area, providing legal counsel for wrongful death cases.