"Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they're different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As a general rule:

  • The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or "accrues," like the day of the car accident, or when a crime is committed, and
  • Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can't file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted for a crime)

Below are the statutes of limitations in Vermont for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn't cover everything. Also, the laws may change at anytime, so be sure to check the current laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.

Civil

Note: Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in Title 12, Chapter 23 of the Vermont Statutes. You can scroll through the laws in this Chapter to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and Battery, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(1)

Contract (in writing), 6 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 511

Contract (oral or not in writing), 6 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 511

False Imprisonment, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(2)

Fraud, 6 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 511

Enforcing Court Judgments, 8 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 506

Legal Malpractice, 6 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 511

Libel, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(3)

Medical Malpractice, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 521

Personal Injury, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(4)

Product Liability, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(4)

Property Damage, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(5)

Slander, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(3)

Trespass, 3 years

12 Vt. Stat. § 512(5)

Wrongful Death, 2 years

14 Vt. Stat. § 1492

Criminal

Note: Most of the criminal statutes of limitations are in Title 13, Chapter 151 of the Vermont Statutes. You can scroll through the criminal laws (found in Title 13 http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/chapters.cfm?Title=13) to find crimes not listed below, and then use Title 13, Chapter 151 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Description

Statute

Arson, No time limit or 11 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(a) or (d)

Assault, 6 or 3 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b) or (e)

Burglary, 6 years

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b)

Disorderly Conduct, 3 years

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(e)

Kidnapping, No time limit

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(a)

Manslaughter, 6 years

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b)

Murder, first degree, No time limit

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(a)

Murder, second degree, No time limit

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(a) or (d)

Rape ("Sexual Assault"), No time limit or 6 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(a) or (d)

Receiving Stolen Property ("Larceny"), 6 or 3 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b) or (e)

Robbery, 6 years

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b)

Theft ("Larceny"), 6 or 3 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

13 Vt. Stat. § 4501(b) or (e)

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