How do you prove that the statute of limitations on an old debt has run out?

UPDATED: Aug 30, 2011

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How do you prove that the statute of limitations on an old debt has run out?

I have an old debt that I forgot about. The last correspondence I have is from 2 different debt collectors 6 years ago asking for $280. I’ve made zero payments on it and now a new collector is demanding over $1800 on this account. The last notices are over 6 years old and I think the SOL in WV is 5 years. Are my 6 year old statements enough to prove SOL if they try and sue or will I need more. If I do need more, how do I get it?

Asked on August 30, 2011 West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the debt results from a written contract--which could include a debt on a credit card (the credit card agreement is a written contract)--then it appears that the statute of limitations, or time to sue, in West Virginia is 10 years. That would be 10 years from the time of the default--i.e. from when you stopped paying, or otherwise committed the act that gave rise to grounds to sue you for the debt. Therefore, from what you write, the statute of limitations has probably not run out yet, and you can be sued on it. How much you can be sued for will depend on its terms--e.g. if it was a credit card debt or a debt on a promissory note or loan, interest may have continued accruing. The type of materials you describe--e.g. account statements--would be a good place to start to prove the amount and timing of the debt. The 5 year SOL in WV is for oral contracts, not ones where there is something in writing. If it's an oral agreement, then the SOL may have expired.

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