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Maine Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Were you in a car accident over a year ago and are worried now about what you need to do to get compensated for your injuries? One of the first things to determine in considering your legal options is the deadline for filing a lawsuit.

Each state has developed laws that limit the amount of time between an accident or injury and the filing of a civil suit. These time limits are called the “statute of limitations." Both criminal and civil cases have time limits. Many states have similar time limits for similar types of actions.

This article provides a brief summary of the civil statute of limitation laws in Maine.

Discovery and “Tolling"

The point at which the clock starts ticking to sue is typically the date of the incident or the discovery of the harm. For example, if you didn't realize a sponge was left inside you after surgery, then you wouldn't have to sue before you knew about the problem. The medical malpractice lawsuit time to sue would be “tolled" or suspended until the discovery of the harm.

Statutes of Limitations in Maine: At a Glance

Statutes of limitations vary greatly. At the top end in Maine, a civil action based on a sexual act committed or engaged in with a minor has no time limit and can be commenced at any time. At the short end, there are a few actions that must be brought within one year, including for sureties on criminal case bonds.

The chart below highlights some of the common civil statutes of limitations in Maine.

Injury to Person

Six years, unless based on assault, battery, or false imprisonment, then it's two years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752)

Injury to Personal Property

Six years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752)


Within six years of discovering the fraud (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 859)

Libel or Slander

Two years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 753)


Six years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752)

Professional Malpractice

  • Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors: Within four years of discovery of the negligence or malpractice, but no later than 10 years after completion of construction or services contract (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752-A)
  • Attorneys: Typically two years, however, real estate title opinions can be started after discovery up to a maximum of 20 years later, and the will drafting time limit doesn't start until the negligence is discovered (could be after the client has passed) (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 753-B)


  • Written contracts under seal or promissory notes signed by witnesses and other evidence of bank debt must be started within 20 years (M.R.S.A Tit. 14 § 751)
  • A breach of a written contract under the U.C.C. is four years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 11 § 2-725)

Collection of Rent

Six years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752)

Collection of Debt on Account

Six years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752)

Court Judgments

Court judgments and decrees are presumed paid at the end of 20 years (M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 864)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Related Resources: Civil Statute of Limitations

Get a Handle on Your Civil Claim: Contact a Maine Attorney

When thinking about filing your personal injury case on time, there are several unfamiliar terms you may encounter such as "tolling" and "discovery." An experienced Maine attorney can help you understand these concepts and assist you in filing your case. If you are dealing with a personal injury matter, it's in your best interests to contact a Maine injury attorney.

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