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 cause of action for wrongful death accrues on the date of death and must be filed within three years of that date.
These actions must be brought within three years of the date that the injury occurred.
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 one year after the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered, whichever is later. Only in cases involving fraudulent concealment or presence of a foreign body may a medical malpractice action be filed more than eight years after the act giving rise to the injury occurred. A parent’s knowledge of a medical malpractice injury to his or her minor child is imputed on the parent.
Products liability actions must be brought within three years after the plaintiff suffers the injury or within three years of the date when the injury was, or should have been, discovered. Furthermore, no suit may be brought outside the "useful" life of a product as defined by state statute.
Except in cases or wrongful death or where a parent has knowledge of a medical malpractice injury, the statute of limitations begins to run on the minor’s 18th birthday.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.