2021 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 893 - Limitations of commencement of actions and proceedings; procedure for claims against governmental units.
893.52 - Action for damages for injury to property.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 893.52 (2021)

893.52 Action for damages for injury to property.

(1) Except as provided in sub. (2) and in any other case where a different period is expressly prescribed, an action, not arising on contract, to recover damages for an injury to real or personal property shall be commenced within 6 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred.

(2) An action, not arising on contract, to recover damages for an injury to real or personal property that are caused or sustained by, or that arise from, an accident involving a motor vehicle shall be commenced within 3 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred.

History: 1979 c. 323; 2015 a. 133.

Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is based upon previous s. 893.19 (5) which is split into 2 separate provisions. See s. 893.53 for the other provision. [Bill 326-A]

Section 893.19 (5) [now s. 893.52] applies to actions based on negligent construction of dwellings. The statute begins to run when the plaintiff suffers injury. Abramowski v. Wm. Kilps Sons Realty, Inc. 80 Wis. 2d 468, 259 N.W.2d 306 (1977).

The limitation period begins when evidence of resultant injury is sufficiently significant to alert the injured party to the possibility of a defect. Tallmadge v. Skyline Construction, Inc. 86 Wis. 2d 356, 272 N.W.2d 404 (Ct. App. 1978).

In actions for legal malpractice, the date of injury, rather than the date of the negligent act, commences the period of limitations. Auric v. Continental Casualty Co. 111 Wis. 2d 507, 331 N.W.2d 325 (1983).

A cause of action accrues when the negligent act occurs, or the last in a continuum of negligent acts occur, and the plaintiff has a basis for objectively concluding that the defendant caused injuries and damages. Koplin v. Pioneer Power & Light, 162 Wis. 2d 1, 469 N.W.2d 595 (1991).

This section permits parties to contract for lesser limitations periods and to specify the day the period begins to run, in which case the “discovery rule" does not apply. Keiting v. Skauge, 198 Wis. 2d 887, 543 N.W.2d 565 (Ct. App. 1995), 95-2259.

A claim for asbestos property damage accrues when the plaintiff is informed of the presence of asbestos and that precautions are necessary. Banc One Building Management Corp. v. W.R. Grace Co. 210 Wis. 2d 62, 565 N.W.2d 154 (Ct. App. 1997), 95-3193.

In the case of a claim for faulty workmanship, a builder's representation can result in a justifiable delay in discovering the cause of an injury. Whether the plaintiff's course of conduct is reasonable is a question of fact. Williams v. Kaerek Builders, Inc. 212 Wis. 2d 150, 568 N.W.2d 313 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-2396.

A plaintiff can rely on the discovery rule only if he or she has exercised reasonable diligence. Jacobs v. Nor-Lake, 217 Wis. 2d 625, 579 N.W.2d 254 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-1740.

A party's deficient performance of a contract does not give rise to a tort claim. There must be a duty independent of the contract for a cause of action in tort. Atkinson v. Everbrite, Inc. 224 Wis. 2d 724, 592 N.W.2d 299 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-1806.

The accrual of a stray voltage claim is governed by the discovery rule. When the defendant utility went to the farm 3 times and found no problem, the plaintiff could not be faulted for accepting the results of the utility's testing and continuing to search for other possible sources of the problem. Allen v. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, 2005 WI App 40, 279 Wis. 2d 488, 694 N.W.2d 420, 03-2690.

Section 893.57, and not this section, applies to a claim alleging intentional trespass. Because the existence of damages for injury to real property is not necessary to maintain a claim for intentional trespass, sub. (1) cannot govern an intentional trespass claim. Munger v. Seehafer, 2016 WI App 89, 372 Wis. 2d 749, 890 N.W.2d 22, 14-2594.

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