The civil statute of limitations is a set of statutory time limits requiring plaintiffs to file civil lawsuits within a certain period of time following the (alleged) incident. These time limits are intended to both discourage the indefinite threat of lawsuits and to ensure the integrity and "freshness" of physical evidence and witness testimony. These time limits vary from state to state and among different types of civil actions, ranging from one to roughly five years, and begin "tolling" at the time of the incident in most cases. Criminal law also imposes a statute of limitations on prosecutors, who must file criminal charges within a certain time limit for most crimes.
The main exception to the time limits on civil lawsuits is the discovery rule. According to this rule, time does not begin tolling (or counting toward the time limit) until the plaintiff has discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury. For instance, someone who had heart surgery 15 years ago but just now discovers that the doctor made a critical error may still be able to file a malpractice suit under the discovery rule.
New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations at a Glance
Most civil actions in New Hampshire have a three-year statute of limitations, including fraud, personal injury, and professional malpractice. Contracts and judgments have a 20-year time limit.
The following chart lists additional time limits for various civil actions in New Hampshire. See FindLaw's Injury Law Basics section for more information.
|Injury to Person||3 yrs. §508:4|
|Libel/Slander||3 yrs. §508:4|
|Fraud||3 yrs. §508:4|
|Injury to Personal Property||3 yrs. §508:4|
|Professional Malpractice||3 yrs. §508:4|
|Trespass||2 yrs. §539:8|
|Collection of Rents||-|
|Contracts||Written: 20 yrs. under seal §508:5|
|Collection of Debt on Account||-|
|Judgments||20 yrs. §508:5|
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may also want to contact a New Hampshire personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
Free Case Review by a New Hampshire Attorney
New Hampshire's civil statutes of limitation often depend on the nature of the claim being filed. A good New Hampshire attorney may be able to find the right cause of action that falls within New Hampshire's time limits and also gets you the largest possible financial compensation. So, if you've been injured and you deserve legal recourse, you should contact a New Hampshire injury attorney for claim evaluation at no charge.
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