The statute of limitations determines the time in which you can bring a lawsuit. (Additional rules known as statutes of repose also may have an impact in unusual situations when the statute of limitations has been extended.) Statutes of limitations vary according to the state and the type of case. As soon as you think that you may have a claim, you should check the relevant statute and make sure that you do not miss the deadline. These rules have very few exceptions and failing to comply with the statute of limitations usually will result in the dismissal of a case, regardless of its merits. As a practical matter, you also will not want to let a long-time pass before you sue because this can hinder your ability to gather the evidence needed to prove your claim.