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Statute of Limitations for Breach of Contract Actions

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What is a Statute of Limitations?

In every state, different causes of action have different statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations is a law which says how long a person can wait before bringing a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations are extremely important – if a person does not bring a lawsuit within the set period, they may lose their right to do so forever.

For example, if a person is injured by the negligent conduct of another, and the statute of limitations for this type of case is 2 years, and he brings the lawsuit after 2 years and 1 day, he has just lost any hope of recovery.

What Are The Statute of Limitations For a Breach of Contract?

For breach of contract actions, these time periods vary widely between the states: they range from 3 to 15 years. Most states have longer statutes of limitations for written contracts, and shorter statutes of limitations for oral contracts. In a few, the time limit is the same for both types of contract.

Generally, the statute of limitations for contract actions begins to “run” (the clock starts ticking), once the facts that give rise to an action on the contract, such as breach or grounds for rescission, come into being. It usually does not matter when they are discovered.

A chart which lists each state, and their statutes of limitations for breach of contracts, including oral contracts, is below. All numbers are representative of years. Please note that the information below is a general guide. Please check the state’s statutes for the most up to date numbers.  

 

State

Written Contract

Oral Contract

Alabama

6

6

Alaska

3

3

Arizona

6

3

Arkansas

5

3

California

4

2

Colorado

6

6

Connecticut

6

3

Delaware

3

3

District of Columbia

3

3

Florida

5

4

Georgia

6

4

Hawaii

6

6

Idaho

5

4

Illinois

10

5

Indiana

10

6

Iowa

10

5

Kansas

5

3

Kentucky

15

5

Louisiana

10

10

Maine

6

6

Maryland

3

3

Massachusetts

6

6

Michigan

6

6

Minnesota

6

6

Mississippi

6

3

Missouri

5

5

Montana

8

5

Nebraska

5

4

Nevada

6

4

New Hampshire

3

3

New Jersey

6

6

New Mexico

6

4

New York

6

6

North Carolina

3

3

North Dakota

6

6

Ohio

15

6

Oklahoma

5

3

Oregon

6

6

Pennsylvania

4

4

Rhode Island

10

10

South Carolina

3

3

South Dakota

6

6

Tennessee

6

6

Texas

4

4

Utah

6

4

Vermont

6

6

Virginia

5

3

Washington

6

3

West Virginia

10

5

Wisconsin

6

6

Wyoming

10

8

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 11-09-2017 12:30 AM PST

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