You frquently hear about the Statute of Limitations but what exactly is it and how does it apply to you? In short, the Statute of Limitations (as far as debt is concerned) is the amount of time a creditor has to sue you to receive what you owe them. Each state has its own time frame for a Statute of Limitation.
A definition from Law.com extensively defines the Statute of Limitations (SOL) as: "a law which sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit, depending on the type of case or claim. The periods vary by state. Federal statutes set the limitations for suits filed in federal courts. If the lawsuit or claim is not filed before the statutory deadline, the right to sue or make a claim is forever dead (barred).
"The types of cases and statute of limitations periods are broken down among: personal injury from negligence or intentional wrongdoing, property damage from negligence or intentional wrongdoing, breach of an oral contract, breach of a written contract, professional malpractice, libel, slander, fraud, trespass, a claim against a governmental entity (usually a short time), and some other variations....
"The limitations (depending on the state) generally range from 1 to 6 years except for in Rhode Island, which uses 10 years for several causes of action. Louisiana has the strictest limitations, cutting off lawsuit rights at one year for almost all types of cases except contracts. California also has short periods, usually one year, with two years for most property damage and oral contracts and four years for written contracts.
"There are also statutes of limitations to enforce a judgment, ranging from five to 25 years, depending on the state. Some states have special requirements before a lawsuit can be filed, such as a written warning to a physician in a claim of malpractice, making a demand upon a state agency and then waiting for the claim to be denied or ignored for a particular period, first demanding a retraction before filing a libel suit, and other variations. Vermont protects its ski resorts by allowing only one year for filing a lawsuit for injuries suffered in a skiing accident as an exception to that state's three-year statute of limitations for other personal injuries."
To determine the debt Statute of Limitation (SOL) for your particular state, I recommend visiting one of several sites.
1. Carreon and Associates
2. Fair Debt Collection.com
3. Nolo Press
According to Nolo Press:
"In most situations the time starts to run on the 'date of harm.' However, a huge exception to this general rule exists. The exception protects plaintiffs in situations where they may not be aware for months or even years that they have been harmed. In such situations, statutes of limitations may begin the clock ticking either on the 'date of discovery' of the harm, or on the date on which the plaintiff 'should have discovered' the harm...."
With reference to Statute of Limitations in general with regards to military personnel, Military.com states: "A member's time in service cannot be used to compute the time limits for bringing any action or proceeding by or against a member, whether in court or elsewhere."
Fair Debt Collection provides this extremely important warning: "While the statute of limitations is running or even after it's expired, making ANY payment or signing a promissory note can reset or restart (depends on your state law) the statute of limitations. Always check if the SOL has expired BEFORE making a payment, signing an agreement to make payments or even acknowledging the debt is valid!"
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