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General Time Limits for Filing Legal Claims in Nevada:

Written Contracts - 6 years; Oral Contracts - 4 years; Medical Malpractice - 1 year from discovery, but not later than 3 years from injury; Negligent Accidents - 2 years; Property Damage - 3 years; Products Liability - 4 years.

If you have been injured or have a legal claim and want to sue to recover for your damages, keep in mind that you only have a certain amount of time in which to file your claim. The legal term for this time limit is the "statute of limitations." Every state has a statute of limitations that applies specifically to defective product liability claims.  No matter where you bring your case, you should file your lawsuit as soon as possible, or at a minimum, make sure you know the deadline. If you don't file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the judge will almost certainly throw out your case, no matter how good your claim may be.

When Does the Time Limit Start To Run?

In some defective product cases, determining when the time limit starts to run is fairly straightforward. For example, if your finger is sliced off by a defective electric carving knife, and in your state the statute of limitations for product liability claims is two years, you must bring your lawsuit within two years from the day you lost your finger.  But some types of injuries are more difficult to detect, and may not be discovered until months or even years after the injury actually occurs. For example, if your lungs are injured by inhaling fumes from a defective chemical product you used, you may not discover your injury until you develop lung inflammation many months or even years later. In such cases, the issue of when exactly the statute of limitations (or time limit) began to run may be crucially important to whether you can still file a defective product claim or if you've missed the deadline.  For these trickier cases, the rules on when the time limit begins to run vary from state to state. Here are the two most common rules:

When the Injury Occurred

In some states, the statute of limitations begins to run when the injury actually occurs. This can have harsh consequences if the injured person doesn't discover the injury until after the statute of limitations has already expired.

When the Injury is Discovered

In many states, the statute of limitations begins to run only when the injured person discovers (or should have discovered) the injury. For example, let's say you were injured by inhaling fumes from a defective chemical product and you discovered your injury years later when your doctor diagnosed you with lung damage. In a state with an injury-discovery rule, the time limit on your defective product claim would begin to run on the date of your lung damage diagnosis (that is, when you discovered your injury), not when you inhaled the noxious fumes (in other words, when the injury actually occurred).  In these states the statute of limitation can begin to run when the injured person  should have discovered the injury. The "should have discovered" part of this rule means that the deadline may start to run even though you do not actually know you have been injured. For example, in the lung injury hypothetical mentioned above, let's say you develop a terrible cough but delay going to a doctor for several months. A court might decide that the statute of limitations started to run when you developed the cough, as opposed to when you finally went to the doctor, because you should have discovered your injury when you first developed the serious cough.

These issues are likely to arise only if your claim is on the edge of being timely, so the sooner you file your claim, the better.

Watch Out for Manufacturer's Notifications

Getting a lawsuit dismissed because the plaintiff didn't file in time is an easy out for a defendant. Because of this, defendants will pursue this defense whenever possible.

Sometimes a manufacturer will deliberately notify potential plaintiffs that a product is defective in order to start the clock ticking on the statute of limitations. However, this notification often just gives the consumer some inkling that the product might be defective, without explicitly saying so. For example, the manufacturer might send a letter offering to replace the product, which has the legal effect of starting the clock ticking without actually informing consumers that they have a certain amount of time in which to bring a lawsuit. For example, in the movie Erin Brockovich, the big company defendant sent a letter offering free medical care -- an attempt to start the statute of limitations clock.

Watch Out for Secondary Time Limits

Some states have additional time limits that prevent consumers from suing companies for injuries caused by defective products manufactured or sold many years ago.  For example, a state might set an absolute time limit on defective product claims of twelve years from the date on which a defective product is sold. If you miss this longer deadline, you are out of luck no matter when you discovered or should have discovered your injury.  These secondary time limits are called "statutes of repose." The specifics of statutes of repose may vary from state to state, and not all states have them. Statutes of repose generally establish a second, longer deadline in states that follow the injury-discovery rule (explained above).

Getting Help

Depending on the nature or your case, it may be tricky to determine when you must file a defective product lawsuit or if you've missed the deadline.  If you need assistance, call an attorney right away. 

 
Chart of State Statutes of Limitations
 
We provide this chart as a rough guide. Caution:  Statutes of Limitations are frequently amended, so please be sure and check the appropriate statute for updates, which may be different than what you read here. For example, time limits for filing a lawsuit to recover on a bad debt are often shorter than the time limits for filing a lawsuit for breaches of other types of contracts. 
 

STATE

STATUTE

WRITTEN CONTRACT

ORAL CONTRACT

INJURY

PROPERTY DAMAGE

ALABAMA

Ala. Code § 6-2-2 et seq. *

6

6

2

6

ALASKA

Alaska Stat. § 09.10.010 et seq.

3

3

2

6 (real property); 2 (personal property)

ARIZONA

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-541 et seq.

6

3

2

2

ARKANSAS

Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-101 et seq.

5

3

3

3

CALIFORNIA

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 et seq.

4

2

2

3

COLORADO

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102 et seq.

6

6

2

2

CONNECTICUT

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq.

6

3

3

2

DELAWARE

Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq.

3

3

3

2

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. Code § 12-301 et seq.

3

3

3

3

FLORIDA

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq.

5

4

4

4

GEORGIA

Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-20 et seq.

6

4

2

4

HAWAII

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1 et seq.

6

6

2

2

IDAHO

Idaho Code § 5-201 et seq.

5

4

2

3

ILLINOIS

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201 et seq.

10

5

2

5

INDIANA

Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq.

10

6

2

6 (real property); 2 (personal property)

IOWA

Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1 et seq.

10

5

2

5

KANSAS

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-501 et seq.

5

3

2

2

KENTUCKY

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.080 et seq.

15

5

1

5 (real property); 2 (personal property)

LOUISIANA

La. Civil Code § 3492 et seq.

10

10

1

1

MAINE

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 751 et seq.

6

6

6

6

MARYLAND

Md. Courts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101 et seq.

3

3

3

3

MASSACHUSETTS

Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 260, § 1 et seq.

6

6

3

3

MICHIGAN

Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5801 et seq.

6

6

3

3

MINNESOTA

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 541.01 et seq.

6

6

6

6

MISSISSIPPI

Miss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq.

3

3

3

3

MISSOURI

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq.

5

5

5

5

MONTANA

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-2021 et seq.

8

5

3

2

NEBRASKA

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-201 et seq.

5

4

4

4

NEVADA

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.010 et seq.

6

4

2

3

NEW HAMPSHIRE

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:1 et seq.

3

3

3

3

NEW JERSEY

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2a:14-1 et seq.

6

6

2

6

NEW MEXICO

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-1 et seq.

6

4

3

4

NEW YORK

N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 201 et seq.

6

6

3

3

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-46 et seq.

3

3

3

3

NORTH DAKOTA

N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq.

6

6

6

6

OHIO

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.03 et seq.

15

6

2

4

OKLAHOMA

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 91 et seq.

5

3

2

2

OREGON

Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq.

6

6

10

6

PENNSYLVANIA

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq.

4

4

2

2

RHODE ISLAND

R. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq.

10

10

3

10

SOUTH CAROLINA

S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq.

3

3

3

3

SOUTH DAKOTA

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-2-1 et seq.

6

6

3

6

TENNESSEE

Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-101 et seq.

6

6

1

3

TEXAS

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq.

4

4

2

2

UTAH

Utah Code Ann. § 78-12-22 et seq.

6

4

4

3

VERMONT

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 461 et seq.

6

6

3

3

VIRGINIA

Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-228 et seq.

5

3

2

5

WASHINGTON

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.005 et seq.

6

3

3

3

WEST VIRGINIA

W. Va. Code § 55-2-1 et seq.

10

5

2

2

WISCONSIN

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 893.01 et seq.

6

6

3

6

WYOMING

Wyo. Stat. § 1-3-102 et seq.

10

8

4

4