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. In cases where the action is based on exposure to any toxic substance in the person’s workplace and contracted by the person in the course of employment, however, suit must be filed within 10 years of the date of death or within three years of the date when the cause of death was discovered, whichever time period is shorter.
These actions must be brought within three years of the date of the injury.
Actions against health care providers must be filed within five years of the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred, or within three years after the injury was discovered. In the case of a minor under 11 years of age, the statute of limitations begins to run on the minor's 11th birthday. Additionally, when a minor under 16 suffers an injury to the reproductive system or an injury caused by a foreign agent negligently left in the body, the statute of limitations begins to run on the child's 16th birthday.
Products liability actions must be brought within three years after the plaintiff suffers the injury.
Except in cases of medical malpractice or wrongful death, a minor must file suit within three years of his or her 18th birthday or within the time set in the particular statute, whichever comes first.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.