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 brought within two years of that date. The discovery rule also applies to wrongful death actions and tolls the statute of limitations until the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known of the negligence causing the death.
Personal injury actions must be brought within two years of the date of the injury or within two years of the time the plaintiff knew or should have known of the negligence.
Claims against health care providers must be brought within two years of the date that the injury occurred. If the injury was unknown and could not have discovered within the two-year time limit, the action may be brought within three years of the date of the injury, but in no event after the expiration of three years. Finally, minors under six have until their sixth birthday to file suit or within the two-year limitations period, whichever time period is greater.
Products liability actions must be filed within two years after the plaintiff suffers the injury or within two years of the time the plaintiff knew or should have known of the negligence.
Except in the case of medical malpractice, there are no other special rules for minors. However, for certain actions the statute of limitations begins once the minor reaches the age of 18 and lasts for three years.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.
Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.