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 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 one year from the date that the injury was, or should have been, discovered. In no event may a person file a medical malpractice claim more than five years from the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred. The five-year restriction does not apply in cases involving fraudulent concealment of the malpractice. In the case of a minor, suit must be filed by the minor's 10th birthday or within the general medical malpractice limitations period, whichever is later.
These types of medical malpractice actions must be brought within: 1.) the three-year limitations period for medical malpractice actions; or 2.) one year of the date when the patient is aware, or should have been aware, of the presence of the object, whichever is later.
Products liability actions must be brought within three years after the plaintiff suffers the injury or within three years of the date the plaintiff reasonably should have known of the injury and its probable cause.
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, a minor has two years from the date of his or her 18th birthday to file suit.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.