Statute of Limitations For Your State

What are Statutes of Limitations?

A Statute of Limitation is a legal rule that specifies the length of time a person can file a lawsuit after an injury. If an injured party does not bring a legal claim within a state’s specified time, a court will bar their claim and they will lose the right to sue. Each state has a unique timeline, in part, depending on the type of injury. Individual states have a range of time limits. For example Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee have a statute of limitations of one year, while Maine and a North Dakota have limits of six years.

Different Time Limits for Types of Claims

There is no standard when it comes to a statute of limitations. Every state sets its own timeline for bringing a suit. There are four main personal injury areas that states have time limitations for:

  • Personal Injury
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Product Liability
  • Wrongful Death

What is tolling?

Sometimes the statute of limitations is “tolled” for a period of time. Tolling is a pause or delay to the period of time set forth by the statute of limitations. Valid legal reasons for tolling include:

  • The injury occurred when the plaintiff was a minor.
  • A court deems a plaintiff mentally incompetent.
  • The plaintiff is in prison.
  • A defendant files bankruptcy case triggering a stay of other lawsuits.
  • The defendant is not physically present in a state.
  • Both parties were engaged in good-faith negotiations to dispute without litigation when the statute of limitations expired.

In addition to extending periods, there may be times when a state shortens the statute of limitations. For example, if an injured party wants to bring a case against a Texas government entity or state employee, they only have six months to file a claim.

Discovery Rule

Most states have a Discovery Rule exception. The Discovery Rule basically extends the filing deadline of the statute of limitations. This rule generally only applies in two situations:

  1. The injured party didn’t know that he or she suffered injury; or
  2. The injured party didn’t know that defendant’s actions caused the injury.

The information provided here is intended to simply provide informative guidelines on personal injury claims. Should you or a loved one be interested in discussing a legal matter, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss deadlines that might apply to your situation.

Why Is It Important To The Law?

The rationale behind the statute of limitations is to bring cases in a timely manner. Because the evidence, both physical and eyewitness, deteriorates over time, the courts have a responsibility to make sure judgments only occur upon sound evidence. Additionally, the statute of limitations ensures a resolution to cases involving personal injury cases like car accidents and wrongful death are resolved in a reasonable amount of time.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

While some states have lengthy statutes of limitations, you should not hesitate in contacting a personal injury attorney to discuss your claim. Some cases, such as those against certain state entities, could require you to provide written notice of your claim within 30 days of the incident. Failing to do so could result in your claim being barred forever.

Questions about a particular statute? We can help. Call us anytime, we are available to you 24/7.


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