Lawsuit Info Center / Car Accident Lawsuits / How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?

How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?

How Long Do I Have To File a Claim?

If you suffered personal injuries in an accident caused by someone else, you could have a personal injury claim. It is important to keep an eye on the statute of limitations. This is the law in each state that sets a certain time limit for when you can file the suit in court.

The most important thing to remember is the statute of limitations for a state is almost always absolute. If you fail to file your personal injury lawsuit within that period of time, the lawsuit is dismissed without even being considered. There are a few circumstances in which the statute of limitations can be extended. But they are rare, and you should never count on being able to extend the deadline.

For most personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations clock starts to run on the day of the injury. In some cases, it may start on the day you found out about the injury. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to usually file the lawsuit within a certain period of time after the person dies.

The statute of limitations for a personal injury case can range from one to six years in many cases. It depends upon your state. At the end of this page, there is a list of the statute of limitations for each state.

The Discovery Rule Exception

Most states have what is called a discovery rule exception to the regular statute of limitations. Generally, the discovery rule can extend the deadline to file the lawsuit in a situation where you did not know about the injury, or did not know that the defendant’s actions or lack of actions could have caused the injury.

For example, let’s assume your state has a statute of limitations of two years for a personal injury lawsuit. However, your state features a discovery rule that states that the statute does not start to run for a personal injury case until the date that you knew or had notice that you had been hurt and knew or had notice of what caused the harm.

If you were exposed to asbestos in your house insulation and 20 years later you develop mesothelioma, it is likely that the asbestos in your home caused the disease. The normal statute of limitations expired and the only way you could file a claim would be through the use of the discovery rule.

After an X-ray and biopsy is done, the surgeon could tell you that the cancer definitely came from asbestos exposure. If the house insulation is the cause of your exposure, the statute of limitations would start to run the day your medical professional told you that the cancer was due to asbestos exposure. This is the case because only now do you know of your injury and know what may have caused it.

Other Ways the Deadline Can Be Extended

In many states, there are other ways that the statute of limitations can be longer. One method is if the defendant left the state after the injury was committed. In the majority of states, the statute of limitations will cease running on the day that the defendant is not in the state. Thus, if the statute of limitations in your state is three years, and the other party was out of the state for two years after the accident, the statute of limitations is extended by two years. But note that this can be hard to prove, and your personal injury attorney will need to do a lot of work to do so. You should not count on an extension of the statute of limitations, but your attorney can help you determine what is possible in your case.

Another way you can have the statute of limitations extended is if you are a minor, disabled are insane or mentally ill. Most states do allow the statute of limitations to be extended in these sorts of cases.


The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Oregon is two years. You have two years from the date of the injury, or, the date you found out about the injury or the date you found out the defendant may have caused the injury, to file a lawsuit.

However, in Oregon, a child plaintiff may have an extended period to file a claim. Also, a property damage claim has a six year limit. It is common for property damage claims to have a longer limit. Also, wrongful death claims are subject to other time limits.

Also, if you were to file a personal injury claim against the state of Oregon, cities, schools or counties, you also need to provide written notice. For example, most of these claims that involve a government entity require a written notice within 180 days. If you do not do so, the lawsuit or claim may be immediately dismissed.

See a state by state breakdown below to know when your last day to file is:

State                          Time Limitation

Alabama                  2 years
Alaska                      2 years
Arizona                    2 years
Arkansas                 3 years
California                2 years
Colorado                  2 years
Connecticut             3 years
Delaware                 2 years
DC                            3 years
Florida                      4 years
Georgia                    2 years
Hawaii                      2 years
Idaho                        2 years
Illinois                      2 years
Indiana                     2 years
Iowa                          2 years
Kansas                      2 years
Kentucky                  1 year
Louisiana                 1 year
Maine                       6 years
Maryland                 3 years
Massachusetts        3 years
Michigan                  3 years
Minnesota                6 years
Mississippi               3 years
Missouri                    5 years
Montana                   3 years
Nebraska                   4 years
Nevada                       2 years
New Hampshire      3 years
New Jersey               2 years
New Mexico              3 years
New York                   3 years
North Carolina         3 years
North Dakota           6 years
Ohio                           2 years
Oklahoma                 2 years
Oregon                      10 years
Pennsylvania            2 years
Rhode Island            3 years
South Carolina         3 years
South Dakota           3 years
Tennessee                 1 year
Texas                         2 years
Utah                          4 years
Vermont                   3 years
Virginia                    2 years
Washington             3 years
West Virginia          2 years
Wisconsin                3 years
Wyoming                 4 years

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