Suits for personal injury must be filed by the second anniversary of the incident that caused the injury.
Property Damage: 4 years
Claims for property damage must be filed within four years from the date of the incident.
Loss of Marital Consortium: 4 Years
Claims for loss of loss of marital society, services and consortium resulting from an injury to the other spouse must be filed in court by the fourth anniversary of the date of the injury.
Parent's Claim for Child's Medical Expense and Loss of Services
Old case law says four years. A Court of Appeals decision in the 1990s, apparently mistaken, says two years, but was based on a the wrong statute without referring to older cases that said four years. Assume two years until the court's mistake is corrected.
Minors' Personal Claims
All limitation periods are "tolled" or suspended to 18th birthday, except in medical malpractice claims. Therefore, most personal injury claims for injuries to minors can be filed up to the 20th birthday, though it is seldom smart to wait that long because evidence is lost and memories fade.
Work Injuries Where Workers' Compensation Is Involved
If the plaintiff receives workers compensation benefits for injuries in this accident, any suit against a third party should be filed within one year to avoid losing control of the claim to the workers compensation insurance carrier.
Medical Malpractice Cases
* Medical malpractice generally for all persons 5 years of age and older: 2 years.
* Medical malpractice, personal claim of child under age 5: 7th birthday.
* Beware: The two-year limitation for medical malpractice actions applies to the parents' claim for the child's medical expenses, etc., regardless of the age of the child.
* The time limit may run from the date of discovery of a foreign object improperly left in the body during surgery.
* You cannot act too soon after a catastrophic truck wreck. See "Why it is crucially important to hire a knowledgeable trucking lawyer within hours after a catastrophic truck wreck."
* Interstate motor carriers are required by Federal law to maintain certain records of their operations for six months. While they are not required to destroy records after six months, many do.
* Companies that handle wireless data transmissions for truck fleets may routinely purge their electronic records within 14 to 30 days. After that, the electronic records, if maintained at all, will be in a form subject to manipulation.
* If you or a loved one are seriously injured due to negligent operation of a motor carrier's truck, it is extremely important to hire a lawyer experienced in trucking cases as soon as possible in order to allow time to take the necessary action to prevent destruction of the trucking company's records.
Contracts: 1, 4, 6, or 20 Years
* Insurance contracts often include a contractual time limit of one year to present a claim or file suit. While based on contract rather than law, such time limits are usually enforceable. Read your insurance policy!
* Ordinary contracts: 4 years.
* Contracts entirely in writing: 6 years.
* Beware: The distinction between an ordinary contract and one entirely in writing can be tricky!
* Contracts "under seal": 20 years.
Claims against State and Local Government
* State Government: Under the State Tort Claims Act, present pre-suit notice of claim in writing with specificity, to head of each state agency involved, and to Risk Management Division of Department of Administrative Services, within 12 months. Suit must be filed within the applicable of limitations, but not less than 90 days after presentation of pre-suit notice of claim. The Attorney General takes the position that the notice of claim must specify a dollar amount.
* County Government: Present claim in writing to county commission within 12 months, and prior to filing suit.
* Municipal Government: Present claim in writing within 6 months, then wait at least 30 days before filing suit.
File suit within 12 months to maintain priority of your judgment where there are multiple claimants and funds are inadequate to fully compensate them all.
Contractual Suit Limitations
* Many insurance policies include a clause contractually limiting the time within which suit may be filed against the insurance company on a claim. For example, many property insurance policies limit the time for suit to one year after the date of loss.
* Contractual time limits for submitting claims and filing suit are also found in the fine print of a variety of consumer contracts. For example, most cruise line tickets include short time limits for reporting claims and filing suit, and specify the court where the suit must be filed.
"Tolling" of Limitation Periods
Here are rules for suspending (or "tolling") limitation periods due to fraud, or if the plaintiff is a minor, mentally disabled, imprisoned, or the defendant is out of state. However, the operation of these rules is highly fact-specific, and goes beyond the scope of coverage of this web site. If you have a question about time limits in a specific situation, ask a lawyer.