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.
Personal injury actions must be brought within two years of the date that the injury occurred.
Actions against health-care providers must be filed within two years of the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred. If a person was unable to discover his or her injury during this time, the limitations period will be extended. In no event, however, can a person bring a medical malpractice action after five years from the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred. All minors who have reached the age of five years old are subject to these time limitations. A minor who has not reached five years of age has two years from the date of the minor’s fifth birthday to bring a medical malpractice action if the cause of action arose before he or she reached age five. A medical malpractice action cannot be brought by or on behalf of a minor after the minor’s 10th birthday if the minor was under five on the date the injury occurred. A medical malpractice action cannot be brought by or on behalf of a minor after five years from the date the injury occurred if the minor was five or older on the date of the injury.
In cases where a health care provider leaves an object in a person's body, that person has one year from the date that the wrongful act was discovered to file suit.
Products liability actions must be brought within two years after the plaintiff suffers the injury or within two years of the time the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the injury.
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, the limitations period begins to run on the minor’s 18th birthday.
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.