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Massachusetts Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Your fender bender on I-28 was a couple of months ago, but your neck is still hurting. Or it's over a year after the accident when you realize the repair shop didn't fix your car right the first time. Do you have a legal claim against either party for damages? And what is the deadline for filing the case in court? Each state has laws limiting the time you have between an incident and filing a civil suit. This article gives an overview of Massachusetts's civil statute of limitation laws.

Civil Statutes of Limitation

Plaintiffs have time limits for filing civil lawsuits, which differ by the type of claim (in most states). These time limits are called civil statutes of limitation. They help preserve the integrity of evidence and witness testimony. Massachusetts' civil statute of limitations laws set a three-year time limit for most cases. Examples include:

  • Personal injury
  • Libel
  • Fraud

Statutes of Limitation in Massachusetts

The following table lists Massachusetts' civil statute of limitations laws. See Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims for additional information.

Injury to Person

3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4


3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4


3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4

Injury to Personal Property

3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4

Professional Malpractice

3 yrs., max. 7 yrs. (personal injury) Ch. 260 §4


3 yrs. Ch. 260 §2A

Collection of Rents

3 yrs. Ch. 260 §2A


Written: 20 yrs. if under seal; 6 yrs. others Ch. 260 §§12; Oral: 6 yrs. Ch. 260 §2

Collection of Debt on Account

6 yrs. Ch. 260 §2


20 yrs. Ch. 260 §20

Statutes of limitation on civil cases create general fairness and reliability when filing lawsuits. Plaintiffs must decide whether to press a suit in a timely matter. This deadline means a potential defendant will receive notice that they may have harmed another party. It also means they will not have a legal issue hanging over their head indefinitely.

Related Resources for Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

You may have an outstanding legal claim for damages, but if you don't file your lawsuit within the required statutory limit, it may not matter. If you want legal advice on your case, you can contact a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts. You can also visit FindLaw's section on Statute of Limitations in Civil Cases for more general information on this topic.

Injured in Massachusetts? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Injuries, whether physical, emotional, or contractual, can be difficult to handle. The process can seem even more overwhelming if you aren't familiar with the legal system. An experienced Massachusetts litigation attorney can give you legal advice. They can also help you meet important filing deadlines.

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