What Is the Time Limit to File a Lawsuit for an Auto Accident?

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The effects of a car accident may not always be known in terms of medical problems. Additionally, if the accident is a severe one, you are going to be more worried about getting healthy again rather than filing a lawsuit. That being the case, significant time can pass from the time of the accident to even considering a lawsuit.

State Time Limit Car Accident List

With the exception of Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee, all states have at least two years for you to file your suit. In those three exceptions, you only have one year to file. The statute of limitations for all states are listed below:

StatePersonal InjuryProperty Damage
Alabama2 Years2 Years
Arizona2 Years2 Years
Arkansas3 Years2 Years
California2 Years3 Years
Colorado3 Years3 Years
Connecticut2 Years2 Years
Delaware2 Years2 Years
DC3 Years3 Years
Florida4 Years4 Years
Georgia2 Years4 Years
Hawaii2 Years2 Years
Idaho2 Years3 Years
Illinois2 Years5 Years
Indiana2 Years2 Years
Iowa2 Years5 Years
Kansas2 Years2 Years
Kentucky1 Year2 Years
Louisiana1 Year1 Year
Maine6 Years6 Years
Maryland3 Years3 Years
Massachusetts3 Years3 Years
Michigan3 Years3 Years
Minnesota2 Years6 Years
Mississippi3 Years3 Years
Missouri5 Years5 Years
Montana3 Years2 Years
Nebraska4 Years4 Years
Nevada2 Years3 Years
New Hampshire3 Years3 Years
New Jersey6 Years6 Years
New Mexico3 Years4 Years
New York3 Years3 Years
North Carolina3 Years3 Years
North Dakota6 Years6 Years
Ohio4 Years4 Years
Oklahoma2 Years2 Years
Oregon2 Years6 Years
Pennsylvania2 Years2 Years
Rhode Island3 Years10 Years
South Carolina3 Years3 Years
South Dakota3 Years6 Years
Tennessee1 Year3 Years
Texas2 Years2 Years
Utah4 Years3 Years
Vermont3 Years3 Years
Virginia2 Years5 Years
Washington3 Years3 Years
West Virginia2 Years2 Years
Wisconsin3 Years6 Years
Wyoming4 Years4 Years

Dram Shop Law Exceptions

Dram Shop laws are laws that have been put in place regarding establishments that over-serve intoxicated individuals or those that have served minors when these individuals cause injury, death, or property damage to another individual as a direct result of their consumption. These limitations will also vary from state-to-state, with some of the statute of limitations being far shorter than the norm (in some states, you will only have 60 days to file suit). Currently, 43 states have Dram Shop laws in place.

Government Entity Exceptions

Much like the above laws, if a government entity is involved, the statute of limitations may be shortened dramatically, often only about six months. Additionally, government employees are sometimes immune from lawsuits. Generally, all states will have specific requirements for filing and if these requirements are not met, the case may be barred.

Other Exceptions

There are additional exceptions that may nullify or change the statute of limitations on any personal injury case.

Defendant Leaves State: In the case where the defendant has left the state, the court will often grant leniency and extend the deadline until the individual returns.

Minor or Legally Incompetent/Unfit to Stand Trial: in cases such as this, the statute of limitations will be tolled until the minor has reached the age of 18 or until the individual is fit to stand trial.

Imprisoned or Dead: If the individual has been imprisoned, the statute of limitations is tolled until he or she gets out of prison. In the case of the defendant being deceased, the estate of that individual can be sued.

Military Duty or At War: While unlikely in this day and age, if a state is at war, the suit will generally be able to be put on hold until the conflict is settled. If the defendant is active military, the case can be tolled until the individual returns from duty.

Tolling Agreement: Both parties can agree to toll the case and waive the statute of limitations.

Equitable Tolling: This happens when a defendant is unable to have reasonably assessed the damage despise having done due diligence. For instance, you were involved in an accident and a recall happens after the fact for a part that possibly caused your accident.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Accident cases can be quite complex, especially if you are dealing with a case where an exception is present. Because of these legal hurdles, we would highly encourage you to discuss your case with one of our Car Accident attorneys. Your consultation is free of charge and you are under no obligation to use our legal services just for talking to a member of our team. For more information about our legal services, click here. If you are ready to discuss your case, please call us at 855-633-0888.

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