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Wisconsin Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Maybe it's been over six months since that fender bender on I-94, and your back still doesn't feel right. Or maybe the repair shop you took your truck to didn't fix it correctly the first time around. Do you have a legal case against the other driver or the auto shop for damages? And, if so, what is the deadline for filing a case?

Here is a brief summary of civil statutes of limitations in Wisconsin.

Civil Statutes of Limitations Generally

Every state has time limits for the filing of lawsuits and other civil actions called "statute of limitations" laws. Wisconsin's civil statute of limitations laws are generally similar to those in other states. Wisconsin's statutes of limitations range from two to six years depending on the type of case. The statutory clock starts ticking typically on the date of the incident or the discovery of the harm.

Statute of limitations laws are designed to create general fairness and practicability when people are filing lawsuits. The main idea is that it is unfair to have an unfinished legal matter hanging over someone's head indefinitely. At the same time, the injured party is given some limited leeway to decide whether or not to file a personal injury claim in order to recover damages. Therefore, statutes of limitation attempt to create a distinct end to each legal conflict so both parties involved can move on with their lives.

Civil Statutes of Limitations in Wisconsin

Each state's statutes of limitations may vary. The chart below highlights civil statutes of limitations in Wisconsin.

Injury to Person

Three years (Wis. Stat. § 893.54)

Intentional Torts

Three years (Wis. Stat. § 893.57)

Wrongful Death

Three years (Wis. Stat. § 893.54)


Three years (Wis. Stat. § 893.57)


Three years (Wis. Stat. § 893.93(1m)(b))

Injury to Personal Property

Six years if arising under a contract and three years if not arising under a contract (Wis. Stat. § 893.52)

Professional Malpractice

Medical: the later of three years from the incident or one year from discovery (max. five years) (Wis. Stat.§ 893.55(1))


Six years (Wis. Stat. § 893.52)

Collection of Rents

Six years (Wis. Stat. § 843.13(1))


Collection of Debt on Account


20 years; six years court not of record (Wis. Stat. § 893.40893.42)

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

Knowing your legal window when it comes to filing a lawsuit is just as important as knowing whether or not you have a valid claim. You can visit FindLaw's statute of limitations section if you want to learn more about this area of law.

Get Legal Help From a Wisconsin Attorney

Wisconsin's civil statute of limitations varies depending on the circumstances of your case and the type of claim involved. An experienced Wisconsin attorney will know Wisconsin's statutes as they apply to the "discovery of harm" rule, the tolling of statutes for incapacity, and other key factors that will maximize your financial compensation.

So, if you are dealing with a personal injury matter where you may be compensated, you should consult with a Wisconsin injury attorney.

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