Missouri Statute of LimitationsRequest Free Consultation
All states place limits on the amount of time after an accident, injury, or malpractice incident during which the injury victim may claim damages. “Damages” in a lawsuit refer to the consequences of an action to a victim. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations, and they serve several purposes. Applying a time limit for how long after an action occurs that the case may come to court ensures that evidence is still available and eyewitness testimony remains reliable if the case comes before a judge and jury. Statutes of limitation also protect defendants from living with the ongoing threat of a lawsuit.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Missouri?
Personal injury compensation claims are among the most common claim types in Missouri. Missouri has a generous statute of limitations in place for personal injury claims. While most states have a two-year time limit, Missouri allows personal injury victims up to five years after an accident or injury incident in which to file a claim in court.
In medical malpractice injury claims, victims have only two years in which to file a claim.
Statute of Limitations for Property Damage or Injury to Personal Property
Missouri also allows up to 5 years after an accident or other injury for victims to file a claim for compensation for written or verbal contract violations and for trespassing. Fraud and judgments have until 10 years for victims to file claims, as do those seeking the collection of debt. The statute of limitations for libel and slander is two years in Missouri.
Why Is the Statute of Limitations Important in Civil Cases?
The majority of civil claims, such as personal injury cases, are settled out of a courtroom through an attorney’s negotiations with the insurance company of the at-fault party. However, if the insurance company seriously undervalues a claim or wrongfully denies it, the victim and their lawyer may decide to pursue the matter in court. It’s urgent to file a lawsuit petition for a court case well within the state’s statute of limitations. Knowing the limit ahead of time lets the victim and their lawyer know how long they can work on documenting evidence and engaging in negotiations with the insurance company for a settlement before going to court if necessary.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Missouri?
In some circumstances, the state might “toll” or delay the statute of limitations, including for personal injury claims. These exceptions to the time limit include the following:
- Circumstances of delayed discovery in which a person doesn’t realize they sustained an injury until later and the statute of limitations begins on the date of the discovery. A good example of this occurs when a doctor diagnoses a nagging backache as a burst disc fracture caused by an accident the victim experienced a month ago. The statute of limitation begins on the date of the discovery
- If an injury victim is unconscious, in a coma, or incapacitated after an injury, the statute of limitations begins when they regain their cognitive abilities
- For underage victims of an injury, the state’s five-year time limit begins on the date of their 18th birthday.
Even in cases of delayed discovery, Missouri allows no more than ten years from the date of the injury for victims to file lawsuits for personal injury or medical malpractice.
If you have questions about how the statute of limitations applies to your unique claim, speak to a St. Louis personal injury attorney during a free case consultation. Contact The Floyd Law Firm, P.C. today.