Your right to a legal recovery from someone is not unlimited. States imposes a time limit by which you must seek recovery. As a general rule, the only way to stop the statute of limitations from expiring is to file a lawsuit. There are different statutes of limitation depending on the type of action you may have. For example, in a wrongful death action you have two years from the date of death to file suit. In an ordinary negligence action, you have three years to resolve the claim or file suit. This is also true in a breach of contract action. When the statute of limitations begins to run in contract disputes, medical negligence (malpractice) and fraud cases can be complicated and depend on different factors. For example, if you need to file a lien for nonpayment in a construction dispute, you must file the lien within 120 days and file suit to perfect the lien within 180 days of the date you were last on the job.
If you have been wronged, a consultation with an attorney regarding your rights is always a good idea.