Medical Device Injuries & The Two-Year Statute

There is a two-year statute of limitations to file suit for “assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual cuased by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” See C.C.P. § 335.1.  However, when the cause of the injury is not readily ascertainable, as is the case for many medical product liability cases, the two-year statute of limitations period begins to run when the injured suspects or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should suspect that the injury was caused by a wrong committed by an actor.  The California Supreme Court in Jolly v. Eli Lilly & Co., (1988) 44 Cal. 3d 1103 held: “Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations begins to run when the plaintiff suspects or should suspect that her injury was caused by wrongdoing, that someone has done something wrong to her.  As we said in Sanchez and reiterated in Gutierrez, the limitations period begins once the plaintiff “ ‘ “has notice **928 or *1111 information of circumstances to put a reasonable person on inquiry….”). (internal citations omitted) A plaintiff need not be aware of the specific “facts” necessary to establish the claim; that is a process contemplated by pretrial discovery. Once the plaintiff has a suspicion of wrongdoing, and therefore an incentive to sue, she must decide whether to file suit or sit on her rights. So long as a suspicion exists, it is clear that the plaintiff must go find the facts; she cannot wait for the facts to find her.”

If you have a question regarding an injury, contact one of our Los Angeles Injury Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.