Preliminary Note: Statutes of limitations restrict the time period that a person can file a lawsuit. These statutes not only vary by state, but they also vary by cause of action. The following guide provides limitations periods for each state, but only for particular causes of action; specifically, those related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability claims. The sections discussing special rules for minors only apply to the causes of action listed for that particular state.
A wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the date of death.
A personal injury action must be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
All actions against health-care providers must be filed within two years after the date of the act giving rise to the injury occurred, or within six months of the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered. In no event may a suit be filed more than four years after the date of the act giving rise to the injury occurred. This limitations period applies to minors over four years of age. However, in the case of a minor under four years of age, that minor has until his or her eighth birthday to file a medical malpractice action.
These actions must be filed within one year of the date that the injury occurred. However, in cases where the injury is not discovered before that time because it resulted from exposure to or ingestion of a harmful substance over time, the plaintiff has one year from the time that the injury is, or should have been, discovered to file suit. With regard to initial sellers, the action must commence within 10 years of the product being put into use unless this is waived in writing.
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, the limitations period begins to run on the minor's 19th birthday but will last no longer than three years.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.