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New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Civil statutes of limitations set the maximum amount of time that a plaintiff has to start a legal proceeding from the date of an alleged offense. These time limits ensure the integrity and "freshness" of physical evidence and witness testimony. They also discourage the indefinite threat of lawsuits.

Statutes of limitations vary by state and the types of civil action. They range from one to five years. The "clock starts ticking" at the time of the incident in most cases.

The discovery rule is the main exception to the time limits on civil lawsuits. According to this rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run at the time of the injury. Instead, it starts when the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury.

For instance, suppose the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is five years. Mark had heart surgery 15 years ago, but he only discovered today that the doctor made a critical error. Based on the discovery rule, Mark has five years from today to file suit against the doctor.

Criminal law also has statutes of limitations. In that case, the prosecutor must file criminal charges within a specific time for most crimes.

New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations at a Glance

Most civil actions in New Hampshire have a three-year statute of limitations.

The following chart lists the time limits for various civil actions in New Hampshire. See FindLaw's Injury Law Basics section for more information.

Injury to Person

3 yrs. §508:4

Libel/Slander

3 yrs. §508:4

Fraud

3 yrs. §508:4

Injury to Personal Property

3 yrs. §508:4

Professional Malpractice

3 yrs. §508:4

Trespass

2 yrs. §539:8

Collection of Rents

4 yrs. §382-A:2A-506

Contracts

Written: 20 yrs. under seal §508:5 Oral: 3 yrs. §508:4

Collection of Debt on Account

Written: 20 yrs. under seal §508:5 Oral: 3 yrs. §508:4

Judgments

20 yrs. §508:5

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. We strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages. But you should contact a New Hampshire personal injury attorney or do further research to verify that this article's information is accurate.

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New Hampshire Civil Statute of Limitations: Related Resources

Get Professional Help With Your Civil Claim: Contact an Attorney

New Hampshire's civil statutes of limitations often depend on the nature of the claim. An attorney can help you find the correct cause of action and file suit before the deadline. Consult with a New Hampshire litigation attorney if you have suffered an injury.  

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