Statute of Limitations plays an important role in our justice system. The Statute of Limitations help encourage disputes be litigated in a timely fashion, allowing the courts to better determine the truth when witnesses and facts are readily available. It ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

So, what is the Statute of Limitations and how does it work?

The Statute of Limitations sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a court to litigate the matter.

The period of time to file a claim will very depending upon the type of incident that occurred. In general, determining the time for “when” the statute of limitations begins to run is not an easy task, but it begins to run when a “cause of action arises”.

Well, that seems pretty straight forwards, right? What are the time limits?

It’s not at all that “straight forward” because there are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. In other words, there is a Discovery Exception, which doesn’t trigger the statute of limitation until the injured party “discovers or should have discovered” that they have been injured. As a result, calculating the length of time that an injured party has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. If you’ve been injured or wronged by another party your best bet is to consult with an attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

Type of Injury

Time Limit

Injury to Person or Property

2 years


1 year


4 years

Professional Malpractice

1 year

Medical Malpractice

1 year but may be extended for additional 180 days upon notice. Different rules for foreign objects inside the body.


4 years

Written Contract

8 years

Oral Contract

6 years

Collection of Debt on Account

6 years


21 years


As if that wasn’t enough, there are different time frames depending on the parties. For example, if you purchase a home that has some defects in it and you hired a home inspector, then you may have a claim against the Seller, Realtor, and Home Inspector. And the time frame for each depends on the underlying theory and facts of the case. Be sure to consult with an experienced real estate law firm - like our team. We can help you determine if you have a case and what the appropriate statute of limitations is in your case. 

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