Timing Your California Small Claims Claims Court Case

statute-limitations-california-small-claims-courtIf you find yourself in a situation that you feel should be escalated to the next level and you’re thinking of heading to small claims court, don’t delay filing your claim. You must file your lawsuit within a specific window of time or lose out forever. This time window is known as the Statute of Limitations.

How Long Do I Have?

In California, your time frame to file suit depends on the type of case or procedure. From personal injury to contracts to property damage, the reason you’re suing has a bearing on how long you have to sue. Also, these time-frames vary depending on your state. Here are a few examples for California Small Claims Court:

  • Personal injury—Two years from the date of the injury. If the injury is not quickly discovered, it is two years from the date it is discovered or should have been identified. A minor has two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a case.
  • Oral contract—Two years from the date the contract is broken.
  • Written contract—Four years from the date the contract is broken.

Should I File Suit if the Other Party has no Money?

Yes, don’t let the idea the other party cannot pay right now stop you from filing a suit if you feel that you have been wronged. Once a judge hears your case and decides in your favor, you will be granted a judgment (a money award stating the amount the judgment debtor owes you). The main problem is that the court will not collect the money; you are responsible for getting it. The good news is once that you have a money judgment award, you have years to get your money.

How do I Collect against a Party with no Money?

There are several options that you can pursue to collect your judgment once it’s been awarded by the Court. Some of those options include:

  • Sending a request for the money
  • Finding the debtors address, place of employment, and assets
  • Putting a levy on the debtor’s wages
  • Levying on the debtor’s bank accounts

These options are effective but they are also time-consuming and require knowledge on how to navigate these actions legally. If you are owed a judgment by a party that can’t pay, read through how we work and then submit your case to us to see if we are able to buy it for cash.