This is a simple guide to understanding Statute of Limitation laws in Minnesota with links for more information.

A statute of limitation is a state or federal law (statute) that puts a deadline (limitation) on how long after an incident a legal claim or charge may be brought.

There are two broad categories for these laws: civil and criminal. A civil statute of limitation is a deadline for starting a lawsuit. A criminal statute of limitation is a deadline for the government bringing criminal charges against someone.

Statute of Limitation Example

For example, if one person breaches a contract, the other party must sue for breach of contract within six years from the breach. If a lawsuit is not started in time, the claims will be dismissed and forever lost.

Complexity of a Statute of Limitation

Determining when a statute of limitation ends (the deadline for a legal action) can be tricky. Even lawyers may find it challenging to determine if a claim is too old to bring.

There are a large number of statutes of limitation. That is, many laws have their own limitations. The first challenge to figuring out a statute of limitation is knowing which particular statute of limitation applies to your circumstances. But that’s not all.

Sometimes, the statute of limitation does not start running until the harm is discovered or some other event occurs. Also, a statute of limitation may be tolled (paused) under some circumstances. In most cases, an attorney’s analysis of the full facts and circumstances will be required to determine whether you are past the statute of limitation’s deadline.

Common Deadlines for Minnesota Lawsuits (Civil Claims)

Common statutes of limitation relevant to lawsuits in Minnesota include:

  • Assault and battery: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
  • Contract (oral or in writing): 4 years or 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 336.2-725); Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(1))
  • Conversion: 6 years (See Conversion.)
  • Defamation: 2 years (See Defamation)
  • False imprisonment: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
  • Foreclosures: 15 years) (Minn. Stat. § 541.03)
  • Fraud: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(6))
  • Judgments: 10 or 20 years) (Minn. Stat. § 541.04)
  • Lawsuits affecting title to real estate: 40 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.023)
  • Lawsuits involving a health care provider, a physician, surgeon, dentist, occupational therapist, hospital, or treatment facility: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.076)
  • Legal malpractice: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5))
  • Libel: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
  • Medical malpractice: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.076(b))
  • Personal injury: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
  • Product liability: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 2)
  • Property damage: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(4))
  • Recovery of real estate: 15 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.02)
  • Slander: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
  • Trespass: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(3))
  • Unfair Trade Practices: 6 years (See Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Law in Minnesota)
  • Wrongful death: 3 years (Minn. Stat. § 573.02, subd. 1)

One popular list of statutes of limitation in Minnesota can be found in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 541.

Important note: These limits are updated from time to time. You should not rely on this list. You should verify with an attorney before assuming a statute of limitation is applicable to your circumstances.

Deadline for Minnesota Criminal Charges

Most states provide certain limitations periods in which a criminal prosecution must be commenced. These limitations periods, which are contained in statutes, are usually called statutes of limitations. In general, limitations periods are longer for more serious offenses and shorter for less serious offenses. Some states have no limitation for the most serious offenses. To learn more, visit Minnesota criminal statutes of limitation.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each situation has its own complexities, and there are many aspects to discuss to understand the details of your situation and advise you accurately.


  1. For a criminal case the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of harm but what if the harm happened 10 years ago but you only find out about it now. Example, lawyer withdraws retirement monies from employee for three years but employee assumes lawyer has put monies in a fund, employee does not inquire because employee cannot take the retirement monies until she is 60 years old which is ten years later. Now employee requests funds and lawyer will not give her the funds. Shouldn’t the stat of limitations start then as employee had no knowledge before hand that lawyer had stolen her retirement monies.

  2. Cathy, great question. Sometimes, the statute of limitation does not start running until the harm is discovered or some other event occurs. This is why an attorney is required to analyze each specific case.

  3. What would the statute of limitations be for a civil case in a personal injury lawsuit? I was injured three month ago and am getting nowhere with the insurance company. I have talked to a couple of attorneys, and, though they are not taking my case, they have warned me of the statute of limitations. It has to be much longer than three months, isn’t it???

  4. Hi, less then 2 years ago I had a family renting a home I own. We bought this property and totally redid the flooring/carpeting and it was freshly painted by us. This family proceeded to destroy the entire carpeted area amoung other damage ie..punching holes in doors and did not pay the last several months of rent while they lived there. Do I have a case against these people? They both have good paying jobs. Thank-u

  5. Rachel,

    Based on your comment, you probably have a case against those tenants.

    Aaron Hall

  6. Hi, August 12th, 2011 i had a stroke at work and was put in hospital for 2 1/2 weeks thereafter doing therapy for the next 6 months due to loss of left side of body, left side paralysis.
    All of this time i was never put on FMLA but remained on company payroll. In fact i am still not on FMLA and am still recovering from this incident. I have also been consistently demoted at work due to them stating i am unable to perform job duties, BUT i have been repeatedly sent to aid other facilities with multiple projects and deadlines to get done.
    My question is – Do i have a case or has the stat of limitations run out?

  7. A small non-profit operates a licensed campground for youth and adult programs. How long should records of incident injury, illness or hazard exposures be maintained by our organization. I’d appreciate any advice.

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