Statute of Limitations

With the exception of certain criminal laws, such as murder statutes, all lawsuits must be filed within a certain amount of time or the claimant forever waives her ability to sue. For instance, if the painter did not finish the job he was hired to do under a contract yet kept your entire payment, depending on the state, you must sue to recover the money within 2 to 6 years. After that time, the deadline has passed, and any lawsuit filed will be dismissed for exceeding the statute of limitations.

We had a pool installed several years ago. Now it is cracked and leaking. Is it too late to sue the pool contractor?

No. Typically, the statute of limitations begins to run when the injury (the pool defect) is discovered. In your case, a consumer protection law probably applies and you will have 2 to 4 years to sue the contractor from the date you discovered the problem.

Sidebar: The discovery rule is an important factor in lawsuit filing deadlines. Typically, the statute of limitations begins to run from the time the act was performed (the date the pool was installed). However, when a defective situation is unknown and only discovered after the statute of limitations has run, the deadline for filing is changed to begin running from the date of discovery.

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