Certain time is allotted to each legal claim. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Depending on your claim type, you will only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. Ranging from a breach of an oral contract to a claim against a government entity, it is important to know these filing deadlines!
Once the Statute of Limitations has expired, the court will no longer recognize the claim. Each jurisdiction has their own guidelines, but they are always ranging from one to multiple years.
In certain circumstances, the Statute of Limitations does not start until certain criteria are met. For example, the defendant is no longer a minor or other inhibiting prosecutorial factor. This is called Tolling the Statute of Limitations and Tolling is consistent among diverse jurisdictions. Keep in mind, certain particulars vary such as Age of Majority.