Yes. States establish rules called "statutes of limitations" that dictate how long you may wait to initiate a lawsuit after the event giving rise to the lawsuit occurs. Statutes of limitations rules apply to all courts, including small claims. For more information about time limits for lawsuits, see Nolo's article Statutes of Limitations: Is It Too Late to Sue? For various statutes of limitations in your state, see Nolo's Chart: Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States.