Statute of Limitations Hawaii Statute of Limitations, Civil Actions

  1. The Hawaii Statute of Limitations for civil actions sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a Hawaii state court to litigate that matter. The statute ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

    How Does the Statute of Limitations Operate?

    The period of time to file a claim will vary depending upon the type of incident that occurred. A claim against a doctor for medical malpractice may be for a different length of time than against an accountant for negligence or fraud. The Hawaii statute of limitations can generally be found within the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 657 and covers the following rules and exceptions in greater detail.

    When does the Hawaii Statute of Limitations Begin?

    Other than for specific exceptions, the Hawaii statute of limitations generally begins to run at the time when a "cause of action arises" - in other words, at the time when an injury occurs that would qualify for a lawsuit to be filed in a Hawaii state court.

    What is the Discovery Rule?

    There are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. For example, fraud that can only be detected by reasonable persons after time passes. It wouldn't be fair or reasonable to require the injured party to file a lawsuit when they could not have detected the injury. As a result, in some instances the Hawaii statute of limitations begins to run from the time the injured party discovers or should have discovered that they have been injured.

    Delaying or Tolling the Hawaii Statute of Limitations

    In certain circumstances, fairness would require that the statute of limitations be delayed for a period of time. A party may not have the ability to bring a case even though they are aware of an injury or damages. Delaying or "tolling" the statute of limitations typically occurs when the plaintiff is "disabled" - such as a minor child or a person who is mentally incompetent. Once the disability ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.

    Calculating the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. Parties that have suffered significant injuries or damages may wish to consult with a Hawaii attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

    Hawaii Civil Code: Hawaii Revised Statutes

    Personal Injury and Negligence

    2 years, generally.

    Wrongful Death

    2 years.

    Medical Malpractice

    2 years, generally.

    Legal and Professional Malpractice

    6 years.

    Products Liability

    2 years.

    Assault and Battery

    2 years.

    False Imprisonment

    2 year.


    Written contracts 6 years. Oral contracts 6 years.


    2 years.

    Personal Property Damages

    2 years


    3 years.

    Libel / Slander / Defamation

    2 years from the date of publication (or the date when spoken).

    Debt Collection Accounts

    6 years.

    Collection of Rent

    6 years.

    Judgment Enforcement

    10 years, most courts (court of record).

    No-Fault Insurance

    Yes - no-fault insurance applies.

    Consumer Fraud Complaints

    Hawaii Department of Commerce, Consumer Affairs

    Telephone: (808) 974-4000

    Please Take Note: The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is”. While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to have a legal consultation with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Hawaii.
    • Hawaii
    Lawsuits, Disputes:
    Statute Of Limitations

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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