Oral Contract Statute of Limitations

Oral Contract Statute of Limitations: What You Need to Know

An oral contract is a legally binding agreement that is made verbally between two or more parties. However, unlike written contracts, oral contracts can be difficult to enforce because they lack the clear and concise terms that a written document provides. In addition, there are specific timeframes within which an oral contract can be enforced – known as the statute of limitations. This article will discuss what oral contract statute of limitations means and what you need to know to protect your interests.

What is Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is the timeframe within which a legal action must be initiated. It is a law that sets a specific period of time for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit against a defendant. In the case of oral contracts, the statute of limitations represents the maximum time period within which a party can bring a legal action to enforce that oral contract.

In most states, the statute of limitations for a breach of an oral contract is typically between 2 and 6 years from the date the contract was breached. This means that if the contract is breached, parties have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against the breaching party. If they fail to do so within the statute of limitations period, courts will dismiss the legal claim.

The statute of limitations varies from state to state and can also be affected by the type of contract at issue. As such, it’s important to check the relevant laws in the state where the contract was made to determine the statute of limitations that applies to your specific case.

How to Prove an Oral Contract?

If you believe that a breach of an oral contract has occurred, it’s important to be able to prove the existence of the contract. This can be difficult as there may be no written agreement or documentation. However, a contract can still be enforceable if it can be proven that an oral agreement was made and both parties agreed to the terms.

Some ways to prove the existence of an oral contract include:

– Testimonial evidence from individuals who were present during the conversation where the oral contract was made.

– Emails, text messages, and other forms of written communication that reference the oral contract.

– Evidence of partial performance of the contract.

If you’re considering pursuing legal action based on an oral contract, it’s recommended to seek the advice of an attorney to assist you in building a strong case.

What are the Risks of Oral Contracts?

Oral contracts can be risky because of their lack of specificity and documentation. The main risk associated with an oral contract is that you may be unable to prove the existence of a contract if a dispute arises. As mentioned earlier, oral contracts are also subject to statute of limitations, which means that parties have a finite amount of time to initiate a legal claim if a breach occurs.

Additionally, oral contracts can be difficult to enforce when compared to written contracts. A written contract provides a clear and concise record of what was agreed upon, making it easier to enforce. However, oral contracts rely on memories and recollections, which can become fuzzy over time.


Oral contracts can be legally binding agreements, but they come with risks, particularly related to enforcing them in court. Understanding the statute of limitations and how to prove the existence of an oral contract are crucial to protecting your interests. In instances where disputes arise regarding oral contracts, it’s recommended to seek the advice of an experienced attorney in your state to guide you through the legal process.