In injury cases, a statute of limitations is basically the amount of time you have to file your case. Waiting too long can make it impossible to seek compensation, no matter how clear the evidence is in the case. These limits vary from state to state, so you may be wondering which state has the longest limit and which has the shortest. This is incredibly important information to have if you'd like to take legal action after an injury.

6 Years

The longest current statute of limitations in personal injury cases is six years. This limit is actually shared by both Maine and North Dakota. If the person is killed, making it a wrongful death case and not a strict injury case, the limit in North Dakota drops to two years.

2 to 4 Years

Six years is fairly long in this area of law. Most states have a statute of limitations that is between two and four years. For instance, Alabama, Delaware and Hawaii all allow just two years to pass. Arkansas, Maryland and Michigan each give you three years. Florida, Nebraska and Utah all allow four years. Missouri gives you five years to file your case, but it is the only state to do so.


There are exceptions. For example, in cases in which you don't even discover the injury for some time, the statute of limitations may not start until that discovery. For instance, if a doctor leaves a medical instrument inside you during surgery, and you don't start feeling pain and discomfort for two years, you don't necessarily have to worry that the statute of limitations may have already run out. Additionally, many laws allow minors to start the statute of limitations countdown when they turn 18, which could allow years of extra time for those injured as children.

Starting Your Case

As you can see, a personal injury case isn't something you want to put off. If you're hurt and need compensation, you must know how to get that case underway.