The civil statute of limitations is a set of statutory time limits for filing a lawsuit, enforced at the state level, typically ranging from one to three years for most causes of action. The clock begins tolling when the alleged injury (or other disputed event) has occurred, although there are some exceptions and conditions. For instance, an individual unknowingly exposed to asbestos 20 years ago may just now discover the injury after receiving positive diagnosis for asbestosis. But the discovery rule holds that the clock doesn't begin tolling until the injury is discovered, giving him or her ample time to file suit. Additionally, the statute of limitations may be put on hold if a named defendant is in hiding, out of state, or being evasive in some other way.
Such time limits are important for a couple of reasons. First, they prevent potential plaintiffs from threatening someone with a lawsuit indefinitely. Also, they ensure greater integrity of the evidence and a more efficient case, including more reliable witnesses and a speedier resolution of the underlying dispute.
Arkansas Civil Statute of Limitations at a Glance
Most claims must be filed within three years in Arkansas, including personal injury, injury to property, and libel. However, slander carries a one-year statute of limitations, written contracts have a five-year limit, and there is a 10-year statute of limitations for judgments.
The main provisions of Arkansas's civil statute of limitations are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Injury Law Basics section for more information about filing a lawsuit.
|Injury to Person||3 yrs. §16-56-104|
|Libel/Slander||Libel: 3 yrs. §16-56-105 Slander: 1 yr. §§16-56-104|
|Fraud||Common law fraud and fraud and deceit: 3 yrs. §16-56-105|
|Injury to Personal Property||3 yrs. §16-56-105|
|Professional Malpractice||Legal: 3 yrs. §16-56-105; Medical: 2 yrs. §16-114-203|
|Trespass||3 yrs. §16-56-105|
|Collection of Rents||3 yrs. §16-56-105|
|Contracts||Written: 5 yrs. §16-56-111; Oral: 3 yrs. §16-56-105|
|Collection of Debt on Account||3 yrs. if not written or under seal §16-56-105|
|Judgments||10 yrs. §16-56-114|
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact an Arkansas personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Arkansas Civil Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
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Whether it's a personal injury case in Little Rock or a car accident in Fort Smith, knowing when to file your civil lawsuit is the first step towards recovery for your injuries. Arkansas' civil statute of limitations depends on the type of claim involved. If you are dealing with a personal injury or business matter that merits compensation, it's in your best interests to contact an Arkansas injury attorney near you.
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