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Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Anyone planning to file a lawsuit needs to understand the time limits imposed by their state. The civil statute of limitations is a set of statutory time limits that require prospective plaintiffs to file lawsuits within a certain period of time following the incident. For instance, if you want to file a slip-and-fall claim and the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years, then you have until two years from the date of the injury to file your initial complaint. Criminal courts also impose a statute of limitations, requiring prosecutors to file criminal charges within a certain time limit for most (but not all) crimes.

The reasons for these limits are to discourage the indefinite threat of lawsuits and to ensure that physical evidence and witness testimony are "fresh" and reliable. These time limits vary from state to state and among different types of civil actions. The main exception to these time limits is the discovery rule, whereby time does not begin tolling (or counting toward the time limit) until the plaintiff has discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury.

Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations at a Glance

The state of Rhode Island imposes a three-year limit for personal injury, professional malpractice (including medical), and product liability. Fraud, defamation, and injury to property all carry a 10-year limit.

The following chart lists additional time limits for various civil actions in Rhode Island. See FindLaw's Injury Law Basics section for more information.

Injury to Person 3 yrs. §9-1-14
Libel/Slander Slander: 1 yr. §9-1-14
Fraud 10 yrs.
Injury to Personal Property 10 yrs.
Professional Malpractice Medical, Legal, Veterinarian, Accounting, Insurance, or Real Estate: 3 yrs. §9-1-14.1; 9-1-14.3
Product Liability 3 yrs.  
Trespass -
Collection of Rents -
Contracts Written: 10 yrs. under seal; 4 yrs. sale of goods §§6A-2-725; 9-1-17
Collection of Debt on Account -
Judgments 20 yrs. §9-1-17
Wrongful Death 2 yrs.

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation or voter-approved ballot initiatives, higher court decisions, and other means. You may want to contact a Rhode Island personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations: Related Resources

Contact a Rhode Island Attorney Before You File Your Claim 

Knowing the deadline to file your personal injury claim in Rhode Island is important. Having a skilled attorney on your side will make the difference between getting the compensation you may be entitled to or having your case barred. If you're dealing with a matter that needs legal attention, it's in your best interests to contact a Rhode Island litigation attorney.

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