Personal Injury Statute of Limitations by State 2023

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 Personal Injury Statute of Limitations by State

Statute of limitations is the legal term that is used to describe certain state statutes. These statutes specify the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a personal injury lawsuit or the amount of time that a prosecutor has to file a criminal complaint against a defendant.

Statute of limitations is intended to place a limit on the plaintiff by establishing a deadline for filing their civil lawsuit. If enough time has passed, the plaintiff or criminal prosecutor is barred from bringing their case against the defendant.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit will vary depending on the type of suit being filed, as well as the applicable state statutes where the plaintiff is filing the lawsuit. One of the main purposes of a statute of limitations is to protect defendants from untimely litigation.

Statutes of limitations allow plaintiffs to pursue valid claims against defendants, but only when the plaintiffs exercise their due diligence by filing their claims in a timely manner. There are three main reasons why the law enacts statutes of limitations:

  1. The statute of limitations forces a plaintiff with a valid cause of action to bring the claim in a timely manner;
  2. Bringing an untimely claim may result in the loss of evidence by a defendant to a lawsuit, with that evidence being necessary to defend themselves against the claims brought against them;
  3. Litigation of a long-dormant claim could result in more cruelty than justice.

The United States Supreme Court has frequently stated that the standard rule is that the statute of limitations begins to run “when the plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action.” In general, the statute of limitations begins when the harmful event occurs or when the plaintiff discovers the injury.

Then, if a lawsuit is initiated after the statute of limitations, it is likely that the claim will be thrown out of court with a simple motion to dismiss from the defendant. However, in some cases, the clock may have been paused for a period of time. This is referred to as “tolling the statute of limitations.”

What Are Tolling Periods?

As mentioned above, sometimes the statute of limitation is “tolled” for a period of time. When the statute of limitations is tolled, it means that the time period is on hold and will not begin running until the toll period ends. This means that plaintiffs will have extra time to initiate their personal injury lawsuit.

For example, in the case where the defendant is a minor, is insane, or is in prison, the statute of limitations may not begin to run. Then, when the reason for the tolling ends, the statute of limitation will begin to run again.

What Are Each State’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

As mentioned above, each state will have different laws concerning the statute of limitations for initiating a personal injury claim. The following list contains a summary of the amount of time a plaintiff has to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against a defendant, along with the citation to the location of the law:

State Statute of Limitations Statute Reference
Alabama 2 years Title 6, Ch. 2, 6-2-38
Alaska 2 years Sec. 9.10.070
Arizona 2 years Title 12, Article 3, Sec. 12-542
Arkansas 3 years (libel, wrongful death), 2 years med malpractice; 1 year slander Secs. 16-56-104, 16-56-105, 16-114-203, 16-62-102
California 2 years for intentional torts; 1 year for slander, libel Code of Civ. Proc. Sec. 335.1, 340
Colorado 2 years Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 13-80-102
Connecticut 2 years Conn. Gen. State. Sec. 52-584
Delaware 2 years Title 10, Ch. 81, Sec. 8119
DC 3 years Title 12, Ch. 3, Sec. 12-301
Florida 4 years Title 8, Ch. 95, Sec. 95.11
Georgia 2 years Sec. 9-3-33
Hawaii 2 years Rev. Stat. Sec. 657.7
Idaho 2 years Title 5, Ch. 2, Sec. 5-219
Illinois 2 years Ch. 735, Act 5, Art 13, Sec. 13-202
Indiana 2 years Title 34, Art. 11, Ch. 2, Sec. 34-11-2-4
Iowa 2 years Chapter 614, Section 614.1
Kansas 2 years Chapter 60, Art 5, Sec. 60-513
Kentucky 1 year Title 36, Chapter 413, Sec. 413.140
Louisiana 1 year Ci. Code. Art. 3492
Maine 6 years Title 14, Part 2, Ch. 205, Sub. 1, Sec. 752
Maryland 3 years Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Sec. 5-101
Massachusetts 3 years Title 5, Ch. 260, Secs. 2A and 4
Michigan 3 years Chapter 600, Act 236, Ch. 58, Sec. 600.5805, number 9
Minnesota 2 years Ch. 541, Sec 541.05, 541.07
Mississippi 3 years Title 15, Ch. 1, Sec. 15-1-49
Missouri 5 years Title 35, Ch. 516, Sec. 516.120
Montana 3 years Title 27, Ch. 2, 27-2-204 and 27-2-207
Nebraska 4 years Title 25, Section 207, 25-207
Nevada 2 years Chapter 11, Sec 11.190
New Hampshire 3 years Chapter 508, Sec. 508.4
New Jersey 2 years Title 2A, Ch. 14, Sec. 2A:14-2
New Mexico 3 years Ch. 37, Art. 1, Sec. 37-1-8
New York 3 years Civil Practice Laws and Rules, Art. 2, Sec. 214
N. Carolina 3 years Title 1, Section 1-52
N. Dakota 6 years; 2 years in wrongful death Title 28, Ch. 1, Secs. 28-01-16 and 28-01-18
Ohio 2 years Title 23, Ch. 5, Sec. 2305.10
Oklahoma 2 years Title 12, Ch. 3, Sec. 95
Oregon 2 years Ch. 12, Sec. 12.110
Pennsylvania 2 years 42 PA Con. Stat. Section 5524
Rhode Island 3 years Title 9, Ch. 1, Sec. 9-1-14
S. Carolina 3 years Title 15, Ch. 3, Sec. 15-3-530
S. Dakota 3 years Title 15, Ch. 2, Sec. 15-2-14
Tennessee 1 year Title 28, Ch. 3, Sec. 28-3-104
Texas 2 years Civ. Prac. & Rem Code, Title 2, Ch. 16, Sec. 16.003
Utah 4 years Title 78, Ch. 12, Sec. 78-12-25
Vermont 3 years Title 12, Part 2, Ch. 23, Subch. 2, Sec. 512
Virginia 2 years Title 8.01, Ch. 4, Sec. 8.01-243
Washington 3 years Title 4, Ch. 16, Sec. 4.16.080
West Virginia 2 years Title 55, Ch. 2, Sec. 55-2-12
Wisconsin 3 years Chapter 893, Sec. 893.54
Wyoming 4 years Title 1, Ch. 3, Sec. 1-3-105

It is important to note that an individual who is initiating a personal injury lawsuit will need to consult the state’s laws on the statute of limitations for the state in which they got injured rather than the state in which they live. The state in which the injury occurred will be the state that has jurisdiction over the case in almost every case.

Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended?

In short, yes, the statute of limitations can be extended. As mentioned above, in cases in which a personal injury occurred to a minor or if the injury was not immediately discoverable, the statute of limitations may be extended.

There are also other federal and state laws that allow for a statute of limitations to be extended, such as cases in which there is an ongoing criminal case that is occurring involving a similar set of facts. A statute may also be extended if the plaintiff is deployed or out of the country, currently mentally impaired or incapacitated as a result of the injury, or in cases where a party has been declared incompetent.

Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured and wish to pursue legal action related to the accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The statute of limitations on personal injuries can vary greatly from state to state. A local attorney will be suited to determining how your state’s statute of limitations will affect your case.

An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and make a timely claim while adhering to the statute of limitations. An attorney can also represent you in court as needed while providing the evidence necessary to prove your legal claims. They can also help you recover for the damages you suffered due to the accident.

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