Statute Of Limitations Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Statute Of Limitations, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Statute Of Limitations?

(n) Statute of limitation is the law limiting maximum period with in which one has to initiate legal proceedings for different classes or types of dispute. If the a suit is not filed or claim made within that period the applicant loses his right. The period of limitation vary from state to state and case to case

History and Meaning of Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a legal concept that dates back to ancient Rome. The earliest known example is the Twelve Tables, a set of laws that governed Roman society beginning in 451 BC, which included provisions that limited the time period during which legal action could be taken. Today, the statute of limitations is a widely recognized doctrine that is used in many legal systems around the world.

In the United States, every state has its own statute of limitations for different types of legal disputes, including personal injury, breach of contract, and criminal offenses. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to protect defendants from having to defend themselves against stale claims, where evidence may have deteriorated or witnesses may no longer be available. It also serves to encourage plaintiffs to pursue their claims promptly, before evidence is lost or degraded.

Examples of Statute Of Limitations

  1. A victim of medical malpractice typically has two or three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit, depending on the state where the injury occurred.
  2. In many jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit for breach of contract is four to six years.
  3. In some states, the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges in cases of sexual abuse of minors may be extended beyond the standard time frame, to account for the fact that many victims may take years or even decades to come forward.

Legal Terms Similar to Statute Of Limitations

  1. Laches: A related doctrine that bars a party from bringing a claim if the delay in doing so has prejudiced the other party's ability to defend the lawsuit.
  2. Res judicata: A term used to describe a situation where an issue in a legal dispute has already been decided by a court, and cannot be pursued further by the same parties.
  3. Discovery rule: Under some circumstances, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the plaintiff has discovered or should have discovered the injury or cause of action.