Wisconsin Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Wisconsin is three (3) years (Ref: Wis. Stat. § 893.54). 


What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three 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 Wisconsin 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 an Wisconsin personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Wisconsin

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Wisconsin. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 


  • If, at the time of the underlying accident, the injured person is under 18 years of age or "mentally ill," they will be entitled to two years to get their personal injury lawsuit filed once the disability is removed (meaning they reach the age of 18 or have their mental competence restored). But note that the where the injured person is subject to mental illness, the filing deadline won't be extended more than five years after the underlying accident. 
  • If the person responsible for the plaintiff's injuries (the defendant) "departs from and resides outside of" the state some time after the underlying accident, but before the lawsuit can be filed, the period of absence probably won't be counted as part of the three-year filing period (the "clock" won't run during this time, in other words).

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Wisconsin 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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