Delaware Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Delaware is two (2) years (Ref: Del. Code tit. 10 § 8119). 


What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within two years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 


Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Delaware Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a Delaware personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Delaware

There are some variations & exceptions to the 2 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Delaware. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 


  • For most kinds of civil lawsuits in Delaware -- including property damage claims --, a number of (relatively rare) situations could serve to extend the two-year lawsuit filing deadline. For example, special rules usually apply if, at the time the property damage occurs, the property owner is "under the disability of infancy or incompetency of mind," meaning they are under the age of 18 or have been declared insane or legally incompetent. In those situations, the property owner is considered to be under a "legal disability," and once the period of disability ends -- meaning the property owner turns 18 or is declared sane or competent -- he or she will have three years to get a civil lawsuit filed over the property damage. This rule can be found in Delaware Code Title 10 section 8116And if the person who is alleged to have caused the property damage leaves the state of Delaware before the lawsuit can be filed, the period of his or her absence probably won't be counted as part of the two-year time limit for filing suit, according to Delaware Code Title 10 section 8117.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Delaware statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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