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State-by-State Personal Injury & Accident Statute of Limitations


What is a "Statute of Limitations”? 

A statute of limitations is a law that varies state to state, and defines the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal. Generally speaking, if you do not file a civil suit within a certain amount of time, you forfeit your opportunity to do so completely. The majority of states in the US have a two (2) year statute of limitations for a personal injury or accident matter, but it can be as low as one (1) year (like Kentucky), and as high as six (6) years (like Maine). 

Every state has some exceptions that my reduce or increase their statute of limitations, and we recommend you not only research the statute in your state but also find a personal injury lawyer to discuss further if you have time limit concerns. Additionally, the details and exceptions surrounding the statute of limitations may change occasionally, so it's critical that you fully understand the time limitations surrounding your specific matter or injury claim.

Click below to learn more about the statute of limitations for personal injury & accident matters in that state.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Does an Insurance Claim Have a Time Limit? 

Generally, an insurance claim for an injury doesn't have a time limit per se, however filing a lawsuit is your only leverage to bring the insurance company to the negotiating table. If there's no potential threat of a lawsuit (if you've passed the statute of limitations), then there's really no chance an insurance company would discuss a settlement. Essentially your leverage with an insurance company dissolves when your statute of limitations passes. 

The Clock is Ticking

Your statute of limitations "clock" typically starts ticking on the date of the accident (incident) that caused the injury in question. Depending on your state and the circumstances, that date may start from the discovery of your injury which could be months or years from the date of incident. Discovery date is often defined by the law as the date when your injury became apparent, or a medical diagnosis was given. This is a legal concept known as “tolling” (pausing) the statute of limitations. For example if an incident occurred on January 1, 2021, your statute of limitations to file a lawsuit (in a 2 year state) would arrive on January 1, 2023. However, if the incident didn't necessitate medical attention and you brushed it off, but on January 1, 2022 a doctor identified a brain injury stemming from that incident, your statute of limitations date may possibly be pushed back to January 1, 2024 because you didn't discover the injury until 1 year after the injury-causing incident. This is just a highly generalized example, but more reason why you may want to discuss the matter with a lawyer.