A statute of limitations is the time limit a plaintiff has to file a claim against an at fault or liable party in the court of law. Under California law a plaintiff must bring a cause action within the statutorily prescribed time. Failure to file a claim within the statutory allotted time will eliminate a plaintiffs right to compensation. In insurance bad faith claim the statute of limitation begins to run when the insurer refuses to arbitrate the matter.
California Statute of Limitations for Filing an Insurance Bad Faith Claim
The statute of limitation in insurance bad faith claims is more complex and requires more attention than other claims in California since it is dependent on the nature the cause of action asserted.
- Cause of action asserted only in Contract: The applicable statute of limitation is four years. Under this cause of action compensation is limited to damages recoverable in contract.
- Tort Action Cause of Action: The applicable statute of limitation is set at two years. California Code of Civil Procedure section 339.
Under a Tort (ie personal injury) cause of action a plaintiff is able to receive damages beyond that which was contractually agreed to in the contact including, emotional distress, punitive damages, and future damages.
Exception to Statutory Deadlines to Filing a Claim in California
Generally because of public policy reasons courts will not allow for exceptions to a filing deadline in civil causes of action. Insurance companies do not owe a duty to advise their insured of applicable statute of limitations in their disputes. In certain instances however, California courts will permit a tolling (halting) of a statute of limitations in cases concerning insurance bad faith disputes. Two of the most common reasons include
- The insured relied upon an insurance companies failure to advise the insured of any applicable contractual limitations period.
- An insurance company mislead the insured as to the tile limit to file an insurance bad faith claim.
Other instances where courts may allow for a tolling of a statute of limitations may include, (1) Minor status of the insured (ie under the age of 18), and (2) mental of physical incapacitation of the insured.
: This article is meant only as an informative primer to statute of limitations laws pertaining to insurance bad faith claims. For a more detailed analysis of your claim feel free to contact our insurance bad faith lawyers
by calling our law offices. (888) 649-7166