In most civil actions there are strict statute of limitations which must be adhered to before a claim can be pursued. Think of a statute of limitation as an expiration date on your claim. But unlike the expiration date on your oil change sticker or gallon of milk, these expiration dates close your window of opportunity to pursue a claim.
Below are statute limitations that generally apply to claims in Oregon:
- One-Year: Landlord -tenant claims are governed by a one-year statute of limitations for habitability claims. While there may be shorter time limits for other claims associated with the tenancy, generally you must bring a claim under the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act within one year. Also a claim for defamation (libel or slander).
- Two-Years: Fraud, personal injury (e.g. car accidents, bike/pedestrian accidents, trip and falls), assault and battery, false imprisonment, legal malpractice, medical malpractice and product liability.
- Three-Years: Wrongful death.
- Six-Years: Contract disputes, trespass, property damage.
- Ten-Years: Enforcing court judgments.
The above are the statute of limitations applicable to civil claims. Criminal charges have a different set of statute of limitations. Also, it is important to understand that often times there are a variety of exceptions and contingencies applicable to these time limitations. For example, minors or incapacitated persons usually will have their statute of limitations tolled (extended) under most circumstanced. This means that a two-year-old victim of a car accident will have a longer statute of limitations than an adult. In Oregon, the two-year-old will have an additional 5 years added to his/her limitation for a total to 7 years. But that will not apply in cases against public agencies which have their own notice and time requirements. There are also exceptions having to do with the discovery or a wrongful act. This is known as the discovery rule. It may, depending on the circumstances increase the time limits in cases such as malpractice.
The bottom line is not to wait. If you have been wrongly injured, you must act quickly to ascertain the applicable statute of limitation so you don’t miss your opportunity to pursue your claim. Best course of action is to consult with an attorney who can evaluate your particular situation and advise you accordingly. This is something that we do at no charge here at Shlesinger & deVillenuve.