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The Oregon Statute of Limitations Guide: How Long is It? 

The Oregon Statute of Limitations

If you're not familiar with the term, the statute of limitations is essentially a legal deadline. It sets the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to start legal proceedings, The clock starts from the date of the alleged offense or event. This time limit varies depending on the type of case and jurisdiction. In this article, we'll get into all the details and exceptions surrounding Oregon's statute of limitations, giving you an overall understanding of how these laws might affect you in the Beaver State.

Oregon Statute of Limitations 

The statute of limitations sets the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated. If you're considering filing a lawsuit for personal injury, you have up to two years from the date of the injury to do so. Similarly, for cases involving breach of contract, whether written or oral, the statute of limitations is six years. 

Property damage claims also have a six-year time frame, while fraud cases must be brought within two years. If you're unsure about the statute of limitations for your specific case, consulting with a legal professional is always a wise decision. 

Criminal Statute of Limitations in Oregon 

In Oregon, the criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on how long prosecutors have to charge someone with a crime. These time limits vary depending on the severity of the crime. For example, there is no statute of limitations for murder or other serious crimes, meaning that charges can be filed at any time, even decades after the crime occurred. 

For other crimes, the statute of limitations can range from a few years to several decades. For instance, most felonies have a statute of limitations of three years, while some specific crimes like arson, manslaughter, and certain sexual offenses have longer time limits. Misdemeanors typically have a statute of limitations of two years. It's important to note that these time limits can be paused or extended under certain circumstances, such as if the accused is out of the state or if new evidence comes to light.

Oregon Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury 

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Oregon is generally two years from the date of the injury. This means that if you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you have a two-year window to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your damages. 

Oregon Statute of Limitations for DUI’s 

For a standard DUI charge, which is typically considered a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations is two years. If the DUI offense is classified as a felony, which can occur in cases involving serious injury, death, or multiple prior convictions, the statute of limitations is extended. For felony DUI charges, the state has three years to bring charges against the individual. It's important to note that these time limits pertain to the initiation of criminal charges by the state. Once charges are filed within the appropriate time frame, the case can proceed through the legal system without being subject to the statute of limitations. 

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations 

Generally, in Oregon, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. However, there is a maximum limit of five years from the date of the treatment or procedure that led to the injury. This remains the same, regardless of when the injury was discovered. 

There are exceptions to these rules. For example, in cases involving minors or cases where fraud or intentional concealment by the healthcare provider has occurred, the statute of limitations may be extended. Due to the complexity of these laws, it's advisable to consult with a legal professional specializing in medical malpractice to understand the specific time limits and exceptions that may apply to your case. 


Discovery Rule: For certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice or fraud, the statute of limitations may not start until the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the injury or wrongdoing. This is known as the "discovery rule." 

Minors: If the plaintiff is a minor (under 18 years old), the statute of limitations is often extended. For many types of cases, the time limit does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of majority (18 years old).

Mental Incapacity: If the plaintiff is mentally incapacitated at the time the cause of action accrues, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the incapacity is removed. 

Criminal Conviction: In personal injury cases where the defendant has been convicted of a crime related to the injury, the statute of limitations may be extended. 

Absence from State: If the defendant is absent from the state or conceals themselves within the state, the period of absence or concealment may not be counted toward the statute of limitations. 

Fraud or Concealment: If the defendant has fraudulently concealed their wrongdoing, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the fraud. 

Legal Strategies to Consider 

When dealing with the statute of limitations in Oregon, several legal strategies can be considered to ensure that your rights are protected: 

1. Early Consultation: Consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the event that gives rise to your claim. This will help ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines due to the statute of limitations. 

2. Documentation: Keep detailed records and documentation related to your case. This can include medical records, contracts, 

correspondence, and any other relevant documents that can help establish the timeline of events. 

3. Discovery Rule: In cases where the injury or violation is not immediately apparent, work with your attorney to determine if the discovery rule applies. This rule can extend the statute of limitations from the date the injury or violation was discovered or should have been discovered. 

4. Tolling Agreements: In some situations, it may be possible to negotiate a tolling agreement with the opposing party. A tolling agreement extends the statute of limitations for a mutually agreed-upon period, allowing more time for negotiation or settlement discussions. 

5. Filing a Lawsuit: If negotiations are not successful or if the statute of limitations is nearing, filing a lawsuit can stop the statute of limitations from running. This preserves your right to pursue your claim in court.

6. Consider Exceptions: Be aware of any exceptions to the statute of limitations that might apply to your case, such as those for minors, mental incapacity, or fraud. These exceptions can extend the filing deadline. 

7. Continuous Treatment Doctrine: In medical malpractice cases, if you are continuing to receive treatment from the same healthcare provider for the same condition, the statute of limitations may be extended until the treatment concludes. 

Oregon Statute of Limitations Guide Conclusion 

The statute of limitations in Oregon sets time limits for filing legal actions, ranging from two years for personal injury cases to six years for breach of contract. At Kollie Law, we understand the complexities of the statute of limitations and have the experience to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. No matter what your legal matter is, our team is here to provide the guidance and support you need.


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