The “action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another” prescribes in two years, as provided in the California Code of Civil Procedure:
CCP §§ 335, 335.1
“335. The periods prescribed for the commencement of actions other than for the recovery of real property, are as follows:
335.1. Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”
This means that such actions may be brought to court within that period, and the case will not be barred by the statute of limitations.
However, if the plaintiff or defendant dies before the running of the statute, and the cause of action survives, the California Code of Civil procedure states that there may still be a brief extension of the limitations period.
CCP § 377.21
“A pending action or proceeding does not abate by the death of a party if the cause of action survives.”
CCP § 377.20 (a)
“Except as otherwise provided by statute, a cause of action for or against a person is not lost by reason of the person’s death, but survives subject to the applicable limitations period.”
It may be until six months after the person’s death, or the limitations applicable as if the person was still alive, whichever is later.
CCP § 366.1
“If a person entitled to bring an action dies before the expiration of the applicable limitations period, and the cause of action survives, an action may be commenced before the expiration of the later of the following times:
(a) Six months after the person’s death.
(b) The limitations period that would have been applicable if the person had not died.”
The action may be commenced either by the plaintiff’s personal representative or a successor in interest.
CCP § 377.30
“A cause of action that survives the death of the person entitled to commence an action or proceeding passes to the decedent’s successor in interest… and an action may be commenced by the decedent’s personal representative or, if none, by the decedent’s successor in interest.” (Emphasis added)
Cases involving time limitations require immediate and decisive action that would be best handled by an experienced Personal Injury Attorney who would be very familiar with laws applicable to such cases and the necessary steps to take.