What is thetimeframe for suing on a debt?

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What is thetimeframe for suing on a debt?

In 2006, I loaned a friend a lot of money. She was paying me back on and off from ‘06-‘10. Now, she finally started paying me back in payments that we agreed on. However, the last payment I got from her was 6 months ago. In SC, on order to take someone to small claims court and win, it has to have happened within 3 years. This started 4 years ago but she stopped paying me back 6 months ago. I have all the paperwork but don’t have written agreement saying that she agreed to this (because she would never sign the contract I made). This was a verbal agreement we made and I have witnesses and paperwork. Since she was paying me and recently stopped, can I win in court?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations, or SOL--the time to bring a lawsuit--starts running from the "bad act" that gives rise to a cause of action, or grounds to sue. On a loan, that's not when the loan was made--it's when the recipient stopped paying according to the terms. What's key will be: what exactly are the terms? (e.g. when are payments due? interest rate, if any? how long does she have to repay? any grace period on payments before they are in default?) If you don't have anything in writing about this, it may be possible to show the terms by oral testimony of those with knowledge and by indirect evidence--e.g. if she was paying fairly regularly for years, that may be used to establish the amounts and due dates of payments.


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