Statute of Limitations

Definition - What does Statute of Limitations mean?

A statute of limitations is a federal or state statute that limits the time within which legal proceedings can be initiated for an alleged offense. The time allowed under the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit generally depends on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes like murder usually don't have a statute of limitations.

Justipedia explains Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is essentially a deadline within which an individual can file a lawsuit, failing which the courts bars the individual from filing a lawsuit for the particular claim. In the United States, statutes of limitations exists for almost all kind of offenses, with the exception of serious crimes like murder. Barring a federal statute of limitations, each state in the U.S. has its own statute of limitations for each particular offense.

For example, in the state of California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of injury. However, if the injury was not discovered right away, then it's one year from the date the injury was discovered. Usually, the severity of offense is considered the major factor while enacting a statute of limitations. Claims against government agencies generally don’t come under normal statutes of limitations and have their own statutes of limitations.

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