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To increase; to augment; to come to by way of increase; to be added as an increase, profit, or damage. Acquired; falling due; made or executed; matured; occurred; received; vested; was created; was incurred.

To attach itself to, as a subordinate or accessory claim or demand arises out of, and is joined to, its principal.

The term is also used of independent or original demands, meaning to arise, to happen, to come into force or existence; to vest, as in the phrase, "The right of action did not accrue within six years." To become a present right or demand; to come to pass.

Interest on money that a depositor has in a bank savings account accrues, so that after a certain time the amount will be increased by the amount of interest it has earned.

A Cause of Action, the facts that give a person a right to judicial relief, usually accrues on the date that the injury to the plaintiff is sustained. When the injury is not readily discoverable, the cause of action accrues when the plaintiff in fact discovers the injury. This occurs frequently in cases of Fraud or Malpractice. A woman, for example, has an appendectomy. Three years after the surgery, she still experiences dull pain on her right side. She is examined by another physician who discovers a piece of surgical sponge near the area of the operation. Although the injury had occurred at the time of surgery three years earlier, in this case the cause of action for Medical Malpractice accrues on the date that the sponge is discovered by the second doctor. This distinction is important for purposes of the running of the Statute of Limitations, the time set by law within which a lawsuit must be commenced after a cause of action accrues. In cases involving injuries that cannot be readily discovered, it would be unfair to bar a plaintiff from bringing a lawsuit because he or she does not start the suit within the required time from the date of injury.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. 1) growing or adding to, such as interest on a debt or investment which continues to accumulate. 2) the coming into being of the right to bring a lawsuit. For example, the right to sue on a contract only accrues when the contract is breached (not mere suspicion that it might be breached) or when the other party repudiates the contract (anticipatory breach).

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


(of a right or demand) to become capable of being enforced.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TO ACCRUE. Literally to grow to; as the interest accrues on the principal. Accruing costs are those which become due and are created after judgment of an execution.
     2.-To accrue means also to arise, to happen, to come to pass; as the statute of limitations does not commence running until the cause of action has accrued. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 861; 2 Rawle, 277; 10 Watts, 363; Bac. Abr. Limitation of Actions, D 3.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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