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 three years of the date of death or within three years of the date the deceased’s executor or administrator knew, or should have known, the factual basis for the cause of action.
These actions must be brought within three years of the date of the injury.
Actions against health care providers must be filed within three years of the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred or within three years of its discovery. In no event can the statute of limitations be extended more than seven years after the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred, unless the action is based on a foreign object being left in the body. In that case, the limitations period begins to run when the plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, the foreign object. Minors under six have until their ninth birthday to file suit, but in no event more than seven years after the date of the act giving rise to the injury occurred. The three-year statute of limitations applies to minors six and older.
These cases must be filed within six months after the injured person learns the identity of the negligent driver. In no event can an action be brought after the expiration of three years of the date on which the accident occurred.
Generally, products liability actions must be brought within three years after the plaintiff suffers the injury. Depending on the nature of the claim, however, a different limitations period may apply.
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, the statute of limitations begins to run on a person’s 18th birthday.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.