Kentucky Statutes of Limitations

About a Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is “a law which sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit, depending on the type of case or claim the periods vary by state… If the lawsuit or claim is not filed before the statutory deadline, the right to sue or make a claim is forever dead (barred)… In some instances a statute of limitations can be extended (“tolled”) based on delay in discovery of the injury or on the reasonable reliance on a trusted person…” Source: Law.com dictionary.

The Kentucky civil statutes of limitations are found in KRS Chapter 413: Limitation of Actions. An action is said to commence on the date of the first summons or process issued in good faith from the court having jurisdiction over the suit. KRS 413.250. A statute of limitations may be extended if the plaintiff was a minor or under a disability at the time the cause of action accrued. Upon turning 18 or removing the disability, the plaintiff must bring suit within the appropriate statute of limitations period. KRS 413.170(1). A statute of limitations may also be extended if the defendant was a Kentucky resident who was absent from the state or hiding to avoid suit during the relevant period. Upon returning to Kentucky or becoming findable, the statute of limitations period will once again run. KRS 413.190.

The Kentucky criminal statutes of limitations are found in KRS 500.050 – General Provisions: Time Limitations. A prosecutor may bring charges for felonies at any time: there is no statute of limitations for a felony. However, a misdemeanor may only be prosecuted within one year after it was committed. The only exception is that the misdemeanor statute of limitations is paused if a sexual offense was committed against a victim under age 18, in which case such prosecution must occur within five years after the victim turns 18 years old.

The following is a list of statutes of limitations for common types of civil actions. It does not include the statute of limitations period for all types of actions which may be brought. For some actions, additional statutory rules or case law define the appropriate limitations period with more specificity.

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 1 Year

  • Personal Injury: action for personal injury to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s spouse, child, ward, apprentice, or servant. KRS 413.140(1)(a)
  • Personal Injury by a Corporation: action for personal injury by a corporation other than a hospital. KRS 413.140(1)(b)
  • Medical Negligence or Malpractice: action against a licensed physician, surgeon, dentist, or hospital for negligence or malpractice. KRS 413.140(1)(e)
  • Professional Malpractice: action to recover damages based on contract or tort arising out of any act or omission in rendering or failing to render professional services for others based on the date of the occurrence or the date the injury should have reasonably been discovered. KRS 413.245
  • Against a Real Estate Appraiser: action to recover damages based upon contract or tort against a licensed real estate appraiser arising out of any act or omission in rendering or failing to render professional services. KRS 413.140(1)(f)
  • Against a Home Inspector: action to recover damages based on contract or tort against a licensed home inspector based on the date the claimant knew or should have known of a deficient inspection and damages and injuries resulting therefrom. KRS 413.246(1)
  • Libel or Slander: action for libel or slander. KRS 413.140(1)(d)
  • Malicious Prosecution: action for malicious prosecution, conspiracy, arrest, seduction, criminal conversation, or breach of promise of marriage. KRS 413.140(1)(c)
  • Recovery of Stolen Property: action to recover stolen property by the owner against any person having possession. KRS 413.140(1)(i)
  • Damages or Value of Stolen Property: action to recover damages or the value of stolen property against the thief or an accessory. KRS 413.140(1)(j)
  • Action by a Personal Representative: any action entitled to be brought by an individual who dies before the expiration of the statute of limitations where the cause of action survives may be brought by his personal representative but only within 1 year after the qualification of the representative. KRS 413.180(1)

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 2 Years

  • Motor Vehicle Personal Injury: no more than 2 years after the injury, death, or the last basic or added reparation payment made by the obligor, whichever occurs last. KRS 304.39-230(6)
  • Damages to or Recovery of Personal Property: action for the taking, detaining, or injuring of personal property including an action for specific recovery. KRS 413.125

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 4 Years

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 5 Years

  • Products Liability: there is a rebuttable presumption that the subject product was not defective if the injury, death, or property damage occurred either more than 5 years after the date of sale to the first consumer or more than 8 years after the date of manufacture. KRS 411.310(1)
  • Oral/Unwritten Contract: action upon a contract not in writing, express or implied. KRS 413.120(1)
  • Check, Endorsement, Promissory Note: action upon a bill of exchange, check, draft, order, any endorsement thereof, or promissory note placed upon the footing of a bill of exchange. KRS 413.120(8)
  • Fraud or Mistake: action for relief or damages on the ground of fraud or mistake. KRS 413.120(12)
  • Against a Trustee: action for an injury by a trustee to the rights of a beneficiary of a trust. KRS 413.120(6)
  • Liability Created by Statute: action upon a liability created by statute, when no other time is fixed by the statute creating the liability. KRS 413.120(2)
  • Penalty or Forfeiture: action for a penalty or forfeiture when no time is fixed by the statute prescribing it. KRS 413.120(3)
  • Personal Injury Caused by Home Construction: action for personal injuries suffered by any person against the builder of a home or other improvements, from the time of original occupancy of the improvements which the builder caused to be erected. KRS 413.120(14)
  • Redeem Personal Property: action by mortgagor to redeem personal property from a mortgagee in continued adverse possession. KRS 413.080
  • Trespass to Real or Personal Property: action for trespass on real or personal property. KRS 413.120(4)
  • Withholding Real or Personal Property: action for the profits of or damages for withholding real or personal property. KRS 413.120(5)
  • Childhood Sexual Abuse: civil action for recovery of damages for injury or illness suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse or childhood sexual assault, based on the commission of the last act by the same perpetrator, the date the victim knew or should have known of the act, or after the victim turned 18. KRS 413.249(2)

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 7 Years

  • Against a Surety: action against a surety under any judgment or decree, bond given in a judicial proceeding, or under a contractual obligation. KRS 413.220
  • Injuries Caused by Deficient Construction: action to recover damages based upon contract or tort resulting from or arising out of any deficiency in the construction components, design, planning, supervision, inspection, or construction of any improvements to real property following the substantial completion of such improvement, including personal injury or wrongful death. KRS 413.135(1)
  • Damages to Real or Personal Property Caused by Deficient Construction: action to recover damages based upon contract or tort resulting from injury to real or personal property, including personal injury or wrongful death. KRS 413.135(1)
  • Eject Adverse Possessor: action to eject or recover title from adverse possessor through proof of lawful or record title and occupancy. KRS 413.060(1)

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 10 Years

  • Default Rule: all actions for which no specific statute sets the limitation period. KRS 413.160

Actions Which Must Be Brought Within 15 Years

  • Written Contract: action upon a written contract or bond. KRS 413.090(2)
  • Enforcement of Judgment: action upon a judgment or decree of any court of Kentucky, other state, or the U.S. KRS 413.090(1)
  • Recover Real Property: action for recovery of real property. KRS 413.010
  • Redeem Real Property: action by mortgagor to redeem real property from a mortgagee in continued adverse possession. KRS 413.070
  • Unpaid Child Support: action to recover unpaid child support arrearages in one cumulative action since the current child support obligation ceased to exist as to the last child covered by the order. KRS 413.090(5)

 

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