Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

South Dakota Statute of Limitations

When can you file a lawsuit? It's a simple question that can make or break a case. Every state places a time limit on bringing a civil lawsuit, and plaintiffs who don't file in time risk having their cases thrown out. While for the most part, these time limits are straightforward, you might be surprised how often they can prematurely end a lawsuit.

Here's a summary of civil statutes of limitations in South Dakota.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

The time limit on bringing a lawsuit is known as the “statute of limitations." State legislatures enacted statutes to create these time limits decades ago, hence the clunky name. The idea behind them is simple: a plaintiff who doesn't file a lawsuit within the given period of time probably doesn't have a strong case. Defendants also benefit from knowing when a lawsuit can arise, and court systems generally benefit from the reduction in cases involving stale claims. Essentially, it's a legal tool for barring old disputes from rising up and letting parties rest easy once a given amount of time has elapsed.

Most states have different statutes of limitations depending on the cause of action. For example, cases alleging fraud (which is harder to detect) may have a longer time period, while cases involving personal injury (which most plaintiffs can't miss) may have a shorter one. Court-made rules for pausing, or “tolling," the statutes of limitations exist as well. Tolling most often occurs when a prospective plaintiff doesn't discover they have a cause of action or is otherwise unable to bring a case.

An example of tolling is a hospital patient who develops complications caused by medical error years after surgery. The patient's statute of limitations period might begin (or “accrue") once they discover the source of the problem.

South Dakota Civil Statutes of Limitations

South Dakota's standard statute of limitations period runs for six years. There are exceptions for different types of actions, however. The following table provides a quick summary:

Injury to Person

Three years (S.D.C. § 15-2-14(3))

Libel and Slander

Two years (S.D.C. § 15-2-15(1))


Six years (S.D.C. § 15-2-13(6))

Injury to Personal Property

Six years (S.D.C. § 15-2-13(4))

Professional Malpractice

Trespass to Real Estate

Six years (S.D.C. § 15-2-13(3))

Collection of Rents

Six years for oral or written contracts (S.D.C. § 15-2-13)


Six years for oral or written contracts (S.D.C. § 15-2-13)

Collection of Debt on Account

Court Judgments

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.

Related Resources for Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

You can read more about statutes of limitations and civil court cases in general on these pages. If you are looking to file a lawsuit and are concerned about the statute of limitations period, speak to a local attorney.

Get Help With Your Civil Claim From a South Dakota Attorney

Whether you want to file a slip and fall claim or a medical malpractice case, a good South Dakota attorney will find the right cause of action that falls within South Dakota's applicable time limits, and that gets you the maximum compensation you're entitled to by law.

If you have a personal injury matter that needs legal attention, you should contact a South Dakota injury attorney as soon as possible.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options