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Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

If you’ve suffered a personal injury and believe you have a legal claim for damages, you must be aware of the statute of limitations in your home jurisdiction. Your claim has to be filed within a certain timeframe, unless there are unusual circumstances. An attorney will be necessary if you must try to file outside the regular statute.

Statutes by State or Jurisdiction

Every state sets its own time period for filing a lawsuit, and sometimes the type of injury or damages you seek influence how long you have to file. The following chart provides basic information on the statute of limitations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Time is designated in years within this chart.

Unless otherwise noted, property damage includes all types. When there is a distinction listed, “real property” is defined as land or a home, while “personal property” encompasses all other forms of property you may own.

Personal Injury Wrongful Death Product Liability Medical Malpractice Property Damage
Alabama 2 2 1 2 6
Alaska 2 2 2 2 6 for Real Property
2 for Personal Property
Arizona 2 2 2 2 2
Arkansas 3 3 3 2 3
California 2 2 2 3 3
Colorado 2 2 2 2 2
Connecticut 3 2 3 2 2
Delaware 3 2 2 2 2
District of Columbia 3 2 3 3 3
Florida 4 2 4 2 4
Georgia 2 2 2 2 4
Hawaii 2 2 2 2 2
Idaho 2 2 2 2 3
Illinois 2 2 2 2 5
Indiana 2 2 2 2 6 for Real Property
2 for Personal Property
Iowa 2 2 2 2 5
Kansas 2 2 2 2 2
Kentucky 1 1 1 1 5 for Real Property
2 for Personal Property
Louisiana 1 1 1 1 1
Maine 6 2 6 3 6
Maryland 3 3 3 5 3
Massachusetts 3 3 3 3 3
Michigan 3 3 3 2 3
Minnesota 6 3 2 to 6 4 6
Mississippi 3 3 3 2 3
Missouri 5 3 5 2 5
Montana 3 3 3 3 2
Nebraska 4 2 4 2 4
Nevada 2 2 2 3 3
New Hampshire 3 3 3 3 3
New Jersey 2 2 2 2 6
New Mexico 3 3 3 3 4
New York 3 2 3 2 3
North Carolina 3 2 2 2 to 3 3
North Dakota 2 2 6 2 6
Ohio 2 2 2 1 4
Oklahoma 2 2 2 2 2
Oregon 10 2 2 2 6
Pennsylvania 2 2 2 2 2
Rhode Island 3 3 3 3 10
South Carolina 3 3 3 3 3
South Dakota 3 3 3 2 6
Tennessee 1 1 1 1 3
Texas 2 2 2 2 2
Utah 4 2 2 2 3
Vermont 3 2 3 3 3
Virginia 2 2 2 2 5
Washington 3 3 3 3 3
West Virginia 2 2 2 2 2
Wisconsin 3 3 3 3 6
Wyoming 4 2 4 2 4


Not all kinds of lawsuits that fall under the umbrella of personal injury or civil suits are listed in this chart. There are some states that have special statutes of limitations for other types of claims, like:

  • Accidents involving uninsured or under-insured motorists
  • Medical malpractice claims resulting from a foreign body left inside a patient during surgery
  • Hit and run accidents
  • Lawsuits in which the defendant is the government or a public employee

It's also important to note that the statute times listed here are only guidelines. There are a number of factors that can influence how long you have to file a claim. In most instances though, the standard statute of limitations applies. In other words, if you live in a state with a two-year statute of limitations, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date your injuries occurred.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some things circumstance that may allow you to file a lawsuit even if it has been longer than the law typically allows. These may include:

  • If your injuries were not immediately apparent
  • If it was not immediately apparent that your injuries were the result of another’s liability or negligence
  • If you were a minor child at the time of the injuries and are now 18 years of age or older
  • If the person responsible for your injuries left the state after the incident but has since returned
  • If you are intellectually disabled or mentally ill

Getting Help with a Personal Injury Claim

If the statute of limitations has expired but you have a valid claim, you will want to seek legal assistance. An attorney can help you determine if your claim can still be filed and can also help you argue your case for damages, if an extension is granted.

Likewise, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand the standard statute of limitations in your home jurisdiction for the type of personal injury claim you have. They can also assist in determining what type of damages you should seek and the amount of compensation you may be able to receive.