A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a limited amount of time. Once the statute of limitations on a potential case has expired, you do not have a valid legal claim any longer.
The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit depends on the type of legal claim. Here are the statutes of limitations for some common legal matters:
- Personal injury: Two years from the injury.
- Medical malpractice: Three years from the date of the injury but shortened to one year from the date of reasonable suspicion when you knew or should have known.
- Breach of a written contract: Four years from the date the contract was broken.
- Breach of an oral contract: Two years from the date the contract was broken.
- Property damage: Three years from the date the damage occurred.
- Claims against government agencies: You must file a claim with the agency within 6 months of the incident. If the claim is denied, you can then file your lawsuit in court and the regular statute of limitations applies.
Determining the statute of limitations on a claim is not easy. If you have any doubts about how to calculate the time you have, you should talk to an attorney.