Small Claims Statutes of Limitations

Know the time limits for filing a lawsuit (statutes of limitations) in your state.

October 5, 2017

The chart below contains common statutes of limitations—the number of years you have to file a particular type of lawsuit—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • We provide this chart as a rough guide. Check your state's actual statute of limitations for the time limit for your specific claim, because it might be different than what you read here. Also, you might have a claim that isn’t listed below or grounds for a different or an additional claim—with a different statute of limitations—than what you thought. For instance, time limits for filing a lawsuit to recover a bad debt are often shorter than the time limits for filing a lawsuit for breaches of other types of contracts. And not all states include mortgages in the statute of limitations for written contracts. Your state might have a separate law and filing period for a mortgage breach or any number of distinct lawsuits.
  • You’ll need to understand how a statute of limitations works. Looking at the actual law will help you determine when the statute of limitations begins to run, the events that delay or “toll” the limitations period, and any other periods that can cut off the ability to sue. Also, keep in mind that court rulings can determine the way that the statutes apply—and even make them unenforceable.
  • Special rules apply to government entities. The filing period might be different for an action against the government. Specifically, it’s likely that you’ll have to file an administrative action and obtain permission to sue before filing a civil suit. Failing to take these steps within the statute of limitations period will result in you losing your ability to litigate the case.

The rules and procedure in this area are complex, and the consequences for failing to follow them are harsh—you’ll lose the right to pursue your action. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.

Statutes of Limitations for the 50 States (and the District of Columbia)

StateStatuteWritten contractOral contractInjuryProperty damage
Alabama Ala. Code § 6-2-30 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. § 13-80-101 et seq. 3 (6 most debts; rent)
(2 tortious breach)
3 (6 short-term debt/rent )
(2 tortious breach)
2 (injuries from motor vehicle accidents, 3 years) 2
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq. 6 3 2 2
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq. 3 3 2 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. 10 (15 years for contracts entered into on or before July 15, 2014) 5 1 5 (real property); 3 (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 2 6
Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq. 6 3 3 3
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq. 10 (If contract is for something other than payment of money or property, then the statute of limitations is five years.) 5 5 5
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-202 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. 8 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 2 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., Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 2.725 4 4 2 2
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 78B-2-101 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

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