Are There Statutes of Limitation for Personal Injuries?

By Daisy Rogozinsky
/
May 29, 2022

If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit against somebody for an injury they caused you years ago, it’s important to first check your state’s statute of limitations to determine if you are still eligible to do so. Below, we explain the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. 

What Is a Statute of Limitations? 

A statute of limitations is a law that determines the maximum amount of time a party has to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. Statutes of limitation exist because it is believed that after enough time has passed, evidence can be lost and witnesses’ memories can become foggy, making it much more difficult to litigate a case fairly. 

The exact length of statutes of limitation varies depending on jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. Severe crimes such as murder, crimes against humanity, and war crimes usually do not have a statute of limitations. However, most other crimes do. 

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases are a type of civil lawsuit, meaning that they pursue compensation rather than punishment. Most civil cases have a statute of limitations applied to them. In the United States, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in nearly every state ranges from two to six years.

Below, you can find a guide to the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in each state. Note that this is a rough guide and you should always check an official state source to be certain you are receiving the most up-to-date information.

 

State Statute Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Alabama Ala. Code § 6-2-30 et seq. * 2
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 09.10.010 et seq. 2
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-541 et seq. 2
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-101 et seq. 3
California Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 et seq. 2
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-101 et seq. 2 (3 years for injuries from motor vehicle accidents)
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq. 2
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq. 2
District of Columbia D.C. Code § 12-301 et seq. 3
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq. 4
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-20 et seq. 2
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1 et seq. 2
Idaho Idaho Code § 5-201 et seq. 2
Illinois 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201 et seq. 2
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq. 2
Iowa Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1 et seq. 2
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-501 et seq. 2
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.080 et seq. 1 (2 years for injuries from motor vehicle accidents)
Louisiana La. civil code § 3492 et seq. 1
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 751 et seq. 6
Maryland Md. Courts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101 et seq. 3
Massachusetts Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 260, § 1 et seq. 3
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5801 et seq. 3
Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 541.01 et seq. 2
Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq. 3
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq. 5
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-202 et seq. 3
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-201 et seq. 4
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.010 et seq. 2
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:1 et seq. 3
New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2a:14-1 et seq. 2
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-1 et seq. 3
New York N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 201 et seq. 3
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-46 et seq. 3
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq. 6
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.03 et seq. 2
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 91 et seq. 2
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq. 2
Pennsylvania 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq. 2
Rhode Island R. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq. 3
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq. 3
South Dakota S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-2-1 et seq. 3
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-101 et seq. 1
Texas Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq., Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 2.725 2
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 78B-2-101 et seq. 4
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 461 et seq. 3
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-228 et seq. 2
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.005 et seq. 3
West Virginia W. Va. Code § 55-2-1 et seq. 2
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 893.01 et seq. 3
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 1-3-102 et seq. 4

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are sometimes exceptions to the statute of limitations for personal injury. The main one is called the discovery rule and applies to situations in which the injured person did not know that they suffered an injury or that the defendant’s actions caused the injury until after the original statute of limitations had passed. 

For example, if a surgery patient were to find out that their surgeon left a surgical implement in their body only years after the surgery, they will still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit because of the discovery rule.

There may also be exceptions to the statute of limitations in the following situations:

  • The defendant left the state after causing the accident
  • The plaintiff is a minor
  • The plaintiff is mentally disabled

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