“Someone Broke A Contract We Had: How Long Do I Have To Sue Them?”

In California, the applicable statute of limitations are two years for oral (verbal) contracts and four years for written contracts. The time begins to be measured by the time of the first breach of the contract, which means that as soon as one party stops performing the terms of the contract, the clock begins to run.

If you have any confusion (or even disagreement) about when the contract has been breached, you should file immediately to prevent having your claim barred by the statute of limitations. These are often contentious issues with motions filed with the court to dismiss claims for failure to file in time. If you have any doubts, you should see an attorney about your case.

In addition, contracts are often both oral and written, usually starting with a basic contract that is subsequently changed by verbal agreement. It can be difficult to enforce oral changes (another reason to have a contract professionally drafted) and you should make sure to file within the two year limit if your written contract has oral components to it.

Some specific kinds of cases also have specific time frames required for filing and these general rules should not be relied upon exclusively.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.