State laws impose time limits, called statutes of limitations, for initiating a lawsuit or some other type of civil action. The "clock" begins tolling at the point the alleged incident has occurred, but there are some exceptions, such as when an injury is not discovered until late. For instance, an individual in Oregon may not know he was exposed to asbestos until it is discovered many years later. But under the "discovery rule," he has two years from the point of discovery in which to file an injury claim. The clock stops tolling when a potential defendant leaves the state or goes into hiding.
These time limits are intended to prevent would-be plaintiffs from using the threat of a lawsuit indefinitely and to ensure the integrity of the evidence. Witness testimony and physical evidence generally are more reliable the closer the discovery process is to the actual event.
Overview of Oregon's Civil Statute of Limitations
Under Oregon statute, the majority of civil actions must be filed within two years, including personal injury, defamation, fraud, and medical malpractice. There is a six-year statute of limitations for injury to personal property, trespassing, contracts, and debt collection. For claims involving minors, the time limit is not "tolled" until the minor's 18th birthday, while no medical malpractice claim may be filed more than five years after the incident occurred.
The main provisions of Oregon'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||2 yrs. §12.110|
|Libel/Slander||2 yrs. §12.110|
|Fraud||2 yrs. from discovery §12.110|
|Injury to Personal Property||6 yrs. §12.080|
|Professional Malpractice||Medical: 2 yrs. from act or reasonable discovery (max. 5 yrs.) §12.110(4)|
|Trespass||6 yrs. §12.080(3)|
|Collection of Rents||1 yr. §12.125|
|Contracts||Written: 6 yrs. §12.080; Oral: 6 yrs. §12.080|
|Collection of Debt on Account||6 yrs. §12.080(2)|
|Judgments||10 yrs. §12.070|
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through new legislation or opinions from appellate courts. You should contact an Oregon personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Oregon Civil Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
Get Legal Help with Your Civil Statute of Limitations Questions
In Oregon, as in all states and the District of Columbia, your injury or non-injury-related civil lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time or you'll be barred. In fact, the statute of limitations is arguably the most important part of your case. One of the best ways to ensure you meet the deadline, is to speak with an Oregon-based litigation attorney today.
Contact a qualified attorney.